A Faithful Companion: Chocolate and Macadamia Fudge Brownies

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✔Refined Sugar Free

✔Gluten Free

✔vegan (optional)

Diamonds, men or chocolate?

I hope I speak for more than myself when I say CHOCOLATE. Diamonds cost a load and men are often useless. It holds no grudges and provides unlimited satisfaction and a no-strings-attached shoulder to cry on.

What is it about the damn cocoa bean? Its like a delicious and exotic love affair that later leaves you feeling like an almighty blimp. Swap around the last two vowels in cocoa and you have a whole different story. I use raw cacao in smoothies, sauces, biscuits and cakes and it has truly transformed my usual guilty chocolate consumption into a staple of my Thrive diet.

The cacao bean is rich in energy minerals, magnesium and sulfur which keeps your hail shiny, nails strong and helps keep your liver healthy! Powdered cacao is full of flavonoids, which are basically natural antioxidants (three times the antioxidant content of green tea!).

Prep time: 10 minutes + Cooking time: 20 minutes

Makes 10 brownies

You will need

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 3 tsp agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup macadamias
  • 2 eggs OR 1/4 cup of water (vegan)

How to

  1. Preheat oven to 160Cº Fan forced
  2. Place the dates and 2 tbsp of water into a food processor and pulse until a smooth mixture is formed
  3. Combine almond meal, cacao, vanilla essence and agave syrup with an electric whisker until smooth
  4. Gently melt the coconut butter over a low heat and add into the mixture along with the egg OR water (vegan option)
  5. Smash the macadamias with a rolling pin or pulse until the desired texture is formed and add into the mixture (leaving some aside to sprinkle onto the mixture before baking)
  6. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking tin (the size is up to you depending on how thick you would like your brownies) and sprinkle a handful of the macadamia crumble on top
  7. Bake for 20 minutes and leave aside to cool for 10 minutes

Its that simple. Keep Thriving! ♥ Anya

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I Just Want Big Bowl of Pasta: Zuchinni Noodles w/ Spicy Tomato and Walnut Sauce

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   ✔Refined Sugar Free

✔ Gluten Free

If there is something more satisfying in this world then a big stodgy, cheesy bowl of pasta, then please, enlighten me now. My tummy grumbles at the thought of creamy mushroom ravioli or heavily laden plate of cheese and tomato pasta bake. HOWEVER, we must remember that (white) pasta is not our friend.

White pasta is predominantly made from refined white flour which contains almost no dietary nutrition. It is particularly high in GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates which releases sugars into the bloodstream at a very rapid speed. This in turn causes your blood sugars to rise which triggers a rise in insulin that works to bring your sugar levels back down to a normal level (clever I know).  But here is the part that really hurts…the body deals with the rise in blood sugars by storing the pasta as fat. Pasta is spiteful. It provides so much satisfaction and then moves on to heartlessly inhibiting those fat cells around your stomach  (the reason many people have discovered that pasta “bloats” them).

So the other day I was having one of those sitting on the couch watching movies all day kind of days and naturally all I could think of was pasta. Although I’m not entirely gluten free after largely cutting it out of my diet I genuinely feel the size of a three-story house after eating pasta. This was not an option as I had to squeeze into my skins for work that evening ( I work in a sportswear store).

So cutting a pretty damn short story shorter, I then came up with this delicious recipe for the perfect pasta craving cure. I am not claiming that this recipe out does an actual bowl of pasta but I think anything that leads you to repeatedly question if what your eating is actually healthy because its so delicious, is a success. Zucchinis are super cheap at the moment, I did a quick calculation and I came to the conclusion that a bowl of zucchini noodles works out about 0.5% more expensive than a bowl of pasta…a very small sacrifice to make for a significant on your diet.

Prep: 5-10 minutes + cooking: 15 minutes

Serves 2-3

You will need

  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 Tsps chili flakes
  • 2 Tbps olive oil
  • A handful of rocket
  • 6 Pork Chipolatas
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • Goats cheese (desired amount)

How to

  1. Peel off the green skin of the zucchinis with a potato peeler (its fairly bitter and looks less noodle-ish) Now keep peeling off strips until you reach the seeds then STOP
  2. If you have a griddle (if not use a non-stick frying pan)  place it over a medium heat and lay on the tomatoes (cut in half), the zuchinni “insides” (NOT THE NOODLES), the chipolatas and garlic clove
  3. Once the tomatoes are almost cooked add the walnuts for 1-2 minutes
  4. Using a blender or a food processor combine the avocado, olive oil, garlic clove, zuchinni insides, tomatoes, salt and pepper and chili flakes
  5. Place the zucchini noodles in a steamer for no more than 1 minute, they cook VERY quickly
  6. Chop up the chipolatas and combine with the sauce
  7. Pour the sauce over the noodles, toss with the walnuts, goats cheese and rocket

Keep Thriving! ♥ Anya