Jan 29, 2012

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever!

So yesterday I gave you my excited news #1, and today I promised some more exciting news.

I made the best cake ever! Yep!!

Check it out!!

A friend asked me if I would be able to make a vegan birthday cake for a vegan colleague of his - and if possible make it raw as he has been tinkering with the idea of going raw. And so, knowing chocolate is a sure-fire winner in any crowd I hunted for a recipe to that would knock the socks off anyone and everyone and boy did I find a winner!

First up was making nut milk, and lots of it! I needed 9 cups of nut milk pulp for the choccie base.

This was mixed through with ingredients such as cacao powder, coconut oil, agave, and other things I can't recall at this minute... Alongside a walnut, agave, coconut caramel fudgy mix. That was amazing!

To assemble the cake it was a layer of chocolate cake, a layer of walnut fudgy stuff, chocolate cake, fudgy stuff... And was left in the fridge over night. What I loved about this cake was regrdless of the time involved, it was totally fool-proof and came out looking a million bux (which is the same reason I love making Heather's Moonie Pies)

I took it into work the following morning as my mate was picking it up off me there, alongside a rich chocolate sauce I made and flavour-filled strawberries I grabbed on my way in.

Then the best bit... pouring chocolate into the centre and carefully lending a helping hand with the back of a spoon to ensure it reached the edges, and slowly dripped off, over and down...

Strawberries in place for aesthetics as well as to both contrast and compliment the delicious rich chocolate sauce that would melt in your mouth and send you off into Willy Wonka Land...

Oh my...


And then it was picked up and taken away for vegan birthday festivities!! My friend sent me this picture of his morning tea slice, much to the delight of his choco-holic taste buds!!

It looked, smelt, and (so I was told) tasted AMAZING!!

Definitely making this recipe again! I was a piece damn it!!


Jan 28, 2012

A book all of my own!!

So I've got two very exciting things to tell you guys about - one now and one tomorrow! But first I want to know who got down to Taylor Square Markets to get their hands on Sydney's best raw food desserts? If you missed out, don't worry, just get there next week! Or check out the interview I did with Janine from Simply Raw here to learn more :)

So as you can see that book above has my blog written all over it. So let me back track to last Wednesday...
It was my 2yr blogging anniversary!! I completely forgot, didn't remember, no idea... but my mother and younger sister had worked it out in reading my blog a few weeks back, much to my surprise! But before I remembered all this, I was being spoiled to dinner made by my mum! I'm the only one in the house that prepares their own dinner; everyone else wait's for mum to do it. I'm used to that and eating organic raw foods, I'm fine with it. But that doesn't mean I LOVE someone else making it for me, as it so rarely happens!

So mum had prepared a delicious dinner for me; RAW TACO'S which is something I had always wanted to make. It's a great meal to share with people that may not be raw as with bowls of tomatoes, guacamole, corn, cucumber, etc all get shared. I had my lettuce leaves and raw taco filling whilst everyone had their corn-chip tacos, and bean and meat filling. It was great! And so delicious! And then of course dessert which was a frozen raspberry cashew mousse in top of a chewy date base, covered in a rich chocolate sauce. And yep, I know what you're thinking; it was damn fine!

The family taco dinner spread

My raw taco getting filled

Mmmm ...

And only after all that being spoilt, they then proposed a toast - to ME! What the? It took me by complete surprise when my sister made mention of my 2yr blogging anniversary! Oh my god! It is too!! She even had a gift for me wrapped in the table drawer beneath me ... I was speechless. My sister had gone to the trouble of getting my very own pictorial designed and created from photos dotted all over my blog! It is the best present I have ever received!

Check it out -

This is on the inside cover of the book

Piccies from events and desserts I've come up with

At home creations and wedding entrees

Party-sized desserts

And the back cover

I love love LOVE it! I am so happy and excited to actually have a book of my very own :)

As for excited news #2... you'll have to wait until tomorrow. But here's a sneak peak -

- in small size :)

Jan 26, 2012

Simply Raw Desserts

Hands up if you've tried Simply Raw in Sydney yet? May I suggest that if you have not, you seriously need to get your butts down to Taylor Square Markets this Saturday!
Simply Raw offers a range of delicious and nutritious 100% organic raw vegan desserts (amongst other goodies) that are absolutely amazing!! All hand-made with love by these beautiful girls, my bet is that they're gonna be the next big best thing to hit the raw scene in Sydney (and about bloody time)!! I did a short interview with Janine from Simply Raw so you guys could know a little more about her...

Tell us the story of how your business Simply Raw was born. And what sparked your inspiration to do this?
The idea of 'Simply Raw' came about 2 years ago. My weak point has always been on sweets. Once I moved further away from processed sugars, additives, and chemically sprayed food it got harder and harder to find desserts that had the ingredients I wanted and the flavours I love. I found that most vegan food I could buy were lacking in flavour, which I didn't want to compromise. I found myself making more and more desserts at home and experimenting with food. I found all my joy and passion in making desserts, experimenting with food and nutrition and seeing the happiness in peoples faces enjoying my food. It makes me so happy! 
Then from August last year there was no doubt surrounding it anymore; this is what I want to do with my life. Educating the world about nutrition, healthy food and their benefits. And on top of that showing people that vegan food is not just healthy, but is absolutely and uncompromisably delicious!

What is the first thing you typically reach for to start your day?
I always start the day with a delicious super-smoothie or a fresh pressed fruit and veg juice. They give me the energy I need for a great start in the day.

How did you first find out about raw foods?
I've always preferred raw veggies over cooked veggies. I love a big salad of fresh cut fruit and veg (whatever I can get my hands on), throw it all in a bowl with a beautiful dressing and enjoy! I started learning more about the nutrition of raw food compared to that of cooked food once I turned vegan. I've learned the most about raw food nutrition from David 'Avocado' Wolfe through his amazing books and newsletters.

How much raw food do you include in your diet?
My diet is about 90-95% raw. I usually start my day with a fresh juice, have some fruit/veg/snacks throughout the day and a big salad at night. I have rice or stir fried veg once or twice a week - whenever my body tells me it's craving some Thai Food or Sushi :)

Do you have any "must haves" that you enjoy every day?
My "must have" is my juice in the morning. I don't feel the energy to get going with it. Come dinner time, I'm craving a big bowl of fresh salad and a bucket full of 'Luv Bites xox' chocolate as dessert. Yummo!

What have you experienced and noticed in regards to your health since incorporating more raw foods in your diet? 

My life has changed significantly ever since I changed my diet. I don't get sick anymore, I am much more relaxed, my skin is so much smoother, I feel energised, I feel happy, I feel balanced and the most important part: I feel healthy! Note: There is a significant difference from organic food and non organic food. Vegan is not = Vegan. It is a lifestyle choice. To get the best result: 1. Buy organic  
2. Eat as much raw as possible 3. Keep fit  4. Keep your nutritional levels up  5. Find your balance and happiness 6. Make sure you focus on 'Number One' (YOU)

Can you give us your most creative and delicious vegan snack idea?
My favorite snacks are fruit and chocolate desserts, preferably with super-foods. They are perfect as an "on the go" snack or whenever you feel the urge. They are delicious, packed with nutrition, energising and healthy. I always have some in my pocket. In regards to fresh fruit and veg: I love anything that's fresh and raw. Absolute favorites: Coconut, Avocado, Mango, Apples and Carrot.

When you first went vegan, what was the most challenging aspect of your new lifestyle? How did you overcome those obstacles?
When I first went vegan, the biggest challenge was to understand ingredients, understand their effect on your body, read all the labels on products you buy and getting to know the variety of amazing food that's out there in the world to explore. You need to face the challenge and start listening to your body. Your body will tell you what food it's craving. Follow and listen to as many like-minded people as possible and share experiences. I've been vegan for 6 years now, read a lot of books and follow a lot of inspiring raw vegan people all over the world; and I'm still learning every day. There is so much out there!

Have there been any books or people that have been of great inspiration to you on your journey?
I first began reading books from various vegan authors; the main person that inspired me and taught me the most I know about nutrition, raw food and its benefits is David Wolfe. He taught me to appreciate and enjoy the treasures that are full of delicious nutrition our earth is spoiling us with. 

Words to live by…
Happiness, Passion, Love, Friendship, Dreams, Support, Sharing. 

About Janine:
Janine is the founder of delicious organic raw vegan desserts 'Simply Raw', which focuses on high nutrition, and the amazing benefits of raw food without compromising flavour. Janine has been vegan for over 6 years. Inspired from vegan enterpreneurs all over the world, her focus is on educating and sharing her knowledge about vegan goodness and its benefits through her delicious food.

If you'd like to get your hands on some of these, pop down to Taylor Square Markets this Saturday and mention 'eat-more-plants' for a 10% discount. Or choose your poison  here and email the girls for your special order.

Jan 24, 2012

Raw Pad Thai

Alot of people ask me wht I eat on a daily basis and possibly to their surprise it's quite ordinary. I'm not really into getting all fancy in the kitchen everyday, rather leaving it to the odd occasion or when I feel inspired, and then it's super exciting!

Exhibit A; my lunch whilst at home watching the Australian Open this week

So yesterday as I was flipping through recipe books to find a kick-ass birthday cake recipe for a good friend (watch this space - omg), I stumbled across a whole bunch of other recipes I had dog-eared to make at some point. One of them asked for 3 cups of daikon which I very rarely have in my kitchen but just so happened to have this week; and more than I knew what to do with! So I wrote a little list, did some shopping, and made myself a delicious batch (yep - enough for dinner last night and lunch today, with extra sauce left over) of PAD THAI!

The recipe is out of I Am Grateful which is an amazing (although at times, time-consuming) book of recipes from the Cafe Gratitude's over in the USA. It's one I wanted to make for ages but obviously never got around too as I rarely flip through my recipe books, preferring (due to simplicity of ingredients, ease, digestibility, laziness and time) to throw greens in a bowl with an avo or few tomatoes ontop, squeeze of lemon. Yep - all out I know!

Anyway, I loved the time I spent in the kitchen after work yesterday afternoon and was extremley happy with myself come dinner time when I could sit down to (what I thought was) a restaurant quality meal, with my feet up watching the tennis :)

Raw Pad Thai

3 cups spiralised daikon
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1 cup kale, shredded (I used chard)
1/2 cup red capsicum, julienned
1 spring onion, sliced fine
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
40 basil leaves, ripped
2 Tbsp coriander, chopped


1 cup coconut milk (blend coconut meat and water from one coconut together, and use 1 cup of this mixture)
1/2 cup almond butter
2 tsp chopped dates
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp miso paste
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Prepare all the ingredients for the dish and combine gently in a bowl. Set aside.

Blend all the sauce ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Adjust anything to taste (I found the tamari a tad to strong so added more coconut milk)

Serve on a bed of greens and top with a few sliced cherry tomatoes, a few almonds, and more coriander if you're like me! YUMMO!


Jan 20, 2012

Herbal Concoctions of mine

When I study, I drink tea. Alot of tea. Which also means frequent bathroom trips from my desk (minor downside really). So as I was brewing a pot down at my dads a few weeks back, my stepsister asked what I was having, and only then did I come to realise how strange some of my regularly consumed herbal mixes may be to those who only sip Lipton tea bags.

So here's a sneak peek into some of my regular combinations -

Horsetail - always in my pot! This baby has a really mild flavour that goes with anything. And why do I drink it? For my nails. It's super high in silica so it's bone strengthening. Great for bone density. And then teeth, hair, skin and nails. I find that drinking it everyday (or every other day) I have much stronger nails (which as a nail biter since conception, I need to keep me from biting them). Horsetail is a traditional European folk remedy and one of the most ancient plants on the planet.

Raspberry leaf - I'm trialling it at the moment and trying to have it as much as i can to see whether or not I get period pain next month. It helps with any menstrual irregularities and when pain hits I'm drinking it very very strong, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Pau D'Arco

Pau d'arco - anti-parasitic. And being a tonic herb, it's fine to consume everyday. Prevention rather than cure I say! And I only read today that it was the native Americans in south america that found out about this tree because it wouldn't rot even when the tree was dead! They would make bow and arrows out of it for that reason; it's also very pliable. Crazy stuff! Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and tastes great.

Cleavers - a lymphatic herb which I take for my acne. It's also a blood cleanser so when the blood is healthy, the rest of us is (usually). I wrote a whole post about this herb on Tera Warners blog once - check it out here.

Calendula - another herb I drink for my acne as it's anti-inflammatory. Goes with anything.

Such a beautiful flower

Chinese green - because I'm a green tea snob and only drink the best one's I can find. It peps me up without a massive high followed by the afterward crash. Mid-morning it helps get things moving if you know what I mean. Super high in antioxidants and the Chinese have been drinking it for centuries so I will to!

Reishi - a really really good dried mushroom for immunity amongst so many other things, but it's also beneficial for adrenal stress, of which I am prone too it seems so it's like my little safety blanket. David Wolfe is a huge fan of reishi so check out some of the things he says about this beautiful mushie!

Reishi muhroom in the wild

Dried and cut up reishi mushroom

They're all the ones I always have on stand-by and consume regularly. A few others pop in here and there depending on my mood, what I've eaten, my digestion trials and triumphs, etc. If you're new to tea go out and grab some! It's an beautiful thing tea. And a really easy way to get amazing substances that can do so many wonderful things for you into your body deliciously, easily and quickly.

Jan 15, 2012

New Year Same Old Me

This morning I was sitting in a cafe before I began work, sipping on a green tea, and I was reading a column in the Sunday paper written by Fifi Box. A humourous, witty, woman who has a way with words. Today's write up - New Years.

I wanted to share the bits I liked most with you as it made me smile, made me think a few things over, and made me realise we're not so different from one another...

"Where are we all at with our New Years resolutions? Don't tell me, I can probably guess. It's roughly two weeks since you declared an overhaul of your life and committed to being a new, improved person. So I'll assume you're currently curled up in the foetal position, bemoaning what a weak willed, pathetic excuse for a human being you are. Or maybe that's just me...
What is it about New Years Eve that bends us into a tail spin trying to decide what we need to change about ourselves? 

The New Year is like a clean slate - a blank canvas on which to paint your perfect life. On mine I'm disciplined, organised, and clear-headed. I only allow positive thoughts into my pure body, which is devoid of processed foods... I expect this incredible woman I've conjured in my head to miraculously appear at one second past midnight...

Perhaps our attitude to the New Year is all wrong. Maybe we shouldn't focus on change, but celebrate who we already are. Maybe our canvasses aren't so bad. Wouldn't it be good to stop and acknowledge all the calamities and errors of judgement you've made over the year and laugh them off? Then, instead of promising you'll never be that flawed person again, you wish yourself a year of fun, love and forgiveness, free of guilt or the pressure to be perfect...

I'm emotional and irrational, and I spend a lot of my life learning from the mistakes I perpetually make, but maybe that's the person I have to accept."

Jan 7, 2012

Supercharge Your Health ebook

Whether vegetarian, vegan, raw or just curious, the Vegetarian Health Institute have a free ebook "14 Ways to Supercharge Your Health With Whole Foods" which would point anyone in the right direction when it comes to making better food choices. It shows you why so-called "health foods" are aging you, and which foods are the real nutrient powerhouses!! Just what we want!

I've just had a quick read and found some pretty good information in it, and it's all super easy to read and understand, and one you can definitely pass onto those you know who are in need of a little educating (or convincing) when it comes to eating proper real foods.

With recipes scattered throughout and nutritional information break downs for certain foods, it's a great one to print off and leave lying round the house...  ;)

Click here to download it

Happy reading guys!!

Jan 5, 2012

Happy New Year Goals

Happy New Year guys n gals! I hope you all had a wonderful time wherever you were, whoever you were with, whatever you were doing. I am blessed to live in Sydney as I think we have THE BEST fireworks display hands down! However, this year I did not venture out to see them, exhausted after what has been, literally an exhausting few months, I worked til 3pm NYE, then came home, pottered about, made some raw nori rolls (change to my usual salad dinner you see), and sat down and shared good food with my sisters, one of their partners, my mother, step father, my partner, and a mate popped by also. 
We watched the 9pm fireworks on tv and were amazed, but I fell asleep on the lounge room floor at 930pm so that was me out!

Since then I've gotten a little (too) burnt lying in the sun and playing in the surf having a much needed Mother Earth restoration day, then visiting one of my two favourite Northern Beaches cafes; this one's in Avalon - The Healthy Chef - where I first wrote about here, and of course ordered the same deliciously-amazing-wakame-smothered-detox-salad, with a juice!

Check the head on that spirulina juice!!

My most amazing lunch, and the girls's Big Hubby Brekkies

I also went on a date with my man down to Suverin in Bondi that I luuuurve!! Now for any of you that know the place you'd probably be thinking "why the hell did you go there for a date?!?!" 
Well...  for starters, I never go on dates so anywhere is exciting... secondly because a date to a health food store (not near my place) is pretty much the best date ever in my books (I know, weird helth food store junkie right here)... and thirdly coz if there's amazing food to eat involved (which as an organic raw vegan in Sydney, I've got, hmmm maybe one other eat-out option!) and doubly amazing food to grab and take home (like sprouted millet bread I top with tahini, honey and cacao nibs nomnomnom, or my favourite home made raw vegan coconut yoghurt, or amazing body oil that my skin can't get enough of and I can't buy anywhere else... the list goes on).

So after an early gym sesh, and a walk along the beach, our appetites were sky high. And nothing could have hit the spot like the salad Pete whipped us up for brekkie!!!

Organic mixed greens with beets, cukes, carrots, squash, massive dollopd of a coconut slop he blended especially (omg garlic!), quandong chutney (amazingly tangy aussie outback fruit), pepitas and sunflower seeds... BOMDIGGITY!!

Anyways, what I wanted to touch on today as it's seems to be everywhere I read at the moment (haha so let's be a sheep Christie) is "new years resolutions" - this time of year where we all vow to eat better, lose a few kgs, join a gym, see family more, etc etc etc. Don't get me wrong, I do all this too, but I prefer to label it differently as it seems to kinda stick better. 
I like to call it goal setting. Now I know I didn't come up with this term, but goal setting can be broken down into smaller goals, whereas new years resolutions come across more as all-or-nothing (and we all know that come Feb or March we've given up on most of them).
I've always been big on goal setting - I set goals and achieved them in buying my first property at 20yrs, then travelling Europe for 18months... I've hit financial goals, reading goals, study goals, even daily goals! 

So I've been scribbling a few down so I can chunk them down into smaller ones, that way it's almost like stepping stones laid out in front and I've just gotta get from one to the next, instead of trying to leap over all to land on the last one! 

Some of my goals this year are:

- put aside $100 a week for my next college payment in July
- exercise daily; if only a walk around the block (more for my sanity then anything else)
- to learn to love myself; working in the breakdown of that one still ;)
- to see girlfriends more; schedule in catch ups with someone different every week or so
- to complete 3 subjects by July 31st; by doing 5 assessments for each subject every 2 months

If you've got some you want to scribble down somewhere to remind you, as believe you me, writing down goals makes them so so much more powerful, then do so! If not, you might want to consider looking at how the things you choose to eat can impact our planet. Small changes can make a huge impact across the year. Have a look at some of these:

1. Don’t waste a meal  
I don't know the figures but I'm sure I would be blown away at the amount of food waste our country disposes of. If you're able to plan ahead and only make what you need, this is greatly reduced. Thinking zucchini pasta for dinner with tomatoes and basil? Then how about shredded zucchini in your green salad for lunch tomorrow? Leftover nut pulp from making milk? Dry it out and use it as nut flour.

2. Never buy bottled water again
Tonnes and tonnes of plastic bottles are ending up in landfill every day! But I gotta say, working at a health food store, more and more people are coming in looking for reusable bottles which is GREAT! But check out this collapsible one! It's genius! Too often my empty stainless steel one weighs me down!
3. Have a meat-free Monday  
Well I may have my rose coloured glasses on here when I assume most of you guys are vegos if not vegans, however one should not assume! Anyways I'm sure we all know meat eaters or live with some. So... tell them to join Gwyneth Paltrow and Sir Richard Branson in reducing the amount of meat in their diet and have a “meat free Monday”. Cutting meat out of your diet can decrease your carbon footprint by a third of a ton and coming up with meat-free meals isn't as hard as it sounds.

4. Grow your own food
One step better than buying local and organic food is growing your own, not only is this cheaper but it’s also far more rewarding as there is nothing quite like the taste of home grown food (I will admit so far I have been hopeless at growing my own, forgetting to water etc...). If space is limited or you live in a flat with no garden check this thing out - it allows anyone to build their own food wall and works both indoors and outdoors.

5. Eat Real Foods
But I'm gonna assume again here dear readers, that you already do. Oh please say yes! Real foods means whole foods. Fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, herbs, sprouts. Some people also do well on legumes and whole grains. But I'm not really going to advocate meat and dairy here sorry for those out there that enjoy those. Whichever you eat, steer clear of all processed, packaged, artificial colour this, flavour enhancer that, cookies, lollies, fizzy drinks... They'll do your body absolutely no good!

These suggestions came from a new website called EthicalCommunity.com that launched last year, and they aim to help us all purchase eco-friendly & natural products, direct from the people that make them. I am not making anything from posting about their site, I only did it as I like their philosophy and what they stand for. A UK-based company but I did ask, and yes they do ship alot of things to us down under :) 

So good luck with whatever goals and resolutions you may aspire to writing and achieving. I'd love to know what they may be and we can then help one another in achieving them!