Archives for posts with tag: raw chocolate

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I’ve taken some time off blogging due to a sudden and unexpected move to Sydney. But I’m back! I missed ya, I did. You look ravishing today. You do!

As promised, here is your guide (finally) to building a bad ass smoothie armoury. Once you have gathered these ingredients you’ll be shooting from the hip come smoothie o’clock. You don’t need to go out and buy them all at once — take your time collecting them. As I said in the previous post, the superfood powders seem expensive at first but you only use a teaspoon or a tablespoon at a time so they will last you a long time.

I cleared a shelf in my pantry for all of my smoothie bits and pieces. Once you get rolling, you’ll be knocking back at least one smoothie a day so it is worth making the space. Smoothies are perfect for breakfast, post-workout, lunch, dessert, and with a few magic ingredients — matcha, maca or cacao — they can even, GASP, replace your morning coffee. So make some space, start collecting your gear, and get slurping!

Frozen bananas: I buy a bunch of bananas every week with my grocery shopping, it’s the easiest way to make sure you always have bananas ready to freeze. When they start to spot, peel them, pop them in sandwich bags and into the freezer. Bananas are high in potassium, vitamins C and B-6, manganese and fibre AND they are my NUMBER ONE smoothie ingredient. They have the perfect sweetness and give your smoothies a lovely creamy consistency.

Fresh, seasonal, organic or farmer’s market produce: I think it’s important to buy organic, for your health, the environment and for flavour. Make the effort to buy fresh, seasonal produce — look up where your closest farmer’s market is — and you will be rewarded with flavour and more nutrient-dense smoothies.

Dates:  Medjool dates are absolutely delicious. They are the perfect caramel-like sweetener for your smoothies. And they happen to be packed with minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Sweet deal.

Açaí puree pouches: You will need these powerful little purple pouches for  açaí bowl breakies. Heaven in a bowl. This Brazilian tropical fruit is not only delicious, it will also dose you with amino acids, antioxidants and omega fatty acids — a beautifying combination that slows the ageing process and boosts the immune system.

Frozen berries: It’s always handy to keep some frozen berries in the house. They are a brilliant açaí bowl ingredient, are high in vitamin C and bursting with other antioxidants too!

There are many new superfoods hitting the market every week, and many new brands. Not all of them are created equal so I have added my favourite brands below to help you suss out the good stuff.
Cacao powder
This Mayan superfood is one of my all-time favourite smoothie boosters. Not only does a spoonful of this stuff make your smoothie exquisitely chocolatey it will also ensure your liquid breakie gets a dose of antioxidants, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Cacao also boosts serotonin levels which is our natural anti-depressant — among other therapeutic  benefits.
My favourite cacao powder is the Ecuadorian Gold by Power Superfoods.

Maca Powder
Maca is a Peruvian root and is jam-packed with nutrients. It is high in vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins. It also provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Maca is said to promote sexual function in men and women. PLUS it is said to relieve issues relating to women’s menopause and menstrual cycle. Not to mention it is known to increase energy levels and stamina! It really is top stuff.
My favourite maca powder is by Power Superfoods.

Mesquite powder
This powder is ground from the pods of the mesquite plant and has a sweet, nutty and caramel-like flavour — especially delicious when paired with cacao. It is a high-protein wholefood that is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid lysine (great for bone health, cholesterol management, pain relief, anxiety and stress reduction). It also helps to control blood sugar levels so it’s a great superfood for diabetics.
My favourite mesquite powder is by Loving Earth.

Lacuma powder
Lacuma is a subtropical fruit native to Peru, Chilli and Ecuador. It is gluten-free and a great source of antioxidants. It is a natural sweetener that won’t raise your blood-sugar levels. It adds a lovely almost maple-like flavour to your smoothies while delivering fibre, vitamins and minerals.
My favourite lacuma powder is by Loving Earth.

Psyllium husk powder
This powder is derived from the gluten-free psyllium seed. It is a rich source of soluble dietary fibre. It helps to cleanse the bowel, lower cholesterol levels and has been used to help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics. It will bulk out your smoothie without adding any flavour.
My favourite psyllium husk powder is by Planet Organic.

Plant-based protein powder
There are many plant-based protein powders on the market. Some, especially the raw varieties, are more nutrient dense than others. The problem I have with many of them is their chalky consistency. If the powder is too chalky, it ruins the smoothie and they are less likely to become a daily habit. So I stick with the least chalky one I’ve found.
My favourite is Vital Protein’s natural pea protein isolate. 

Matcha powder
Matcha is a Japanese green tea leaf powder. It is a nutrient-rich wholefood that gives you an extra zing in the mornings, increases metabolism, fortifies your immune system, improves cholesterol, enhances your mood and even boosts memory and concentration! Plus its high chlorophyll content (giving it that wickedly green hue) makes it a powerful detoxifier for the body.
My favourite matcha powder is Absolute Green’s certified organic green tea powder.

There are too many to list. This post would become a blogologue of epic proportions. Experiment. Have fun exploring. At the top of my list are: coconut oil (my fave is Nuigini Organics), chia seeds (my fave are Power Superfoods), activated buckwheat kernels (my fave are Loving Earth, especially their heavenly caramalised buckinis) and cinnamon. But I will try to talk a little more about ‘awesome extras’ in later posts.

For now, start stocking your smoothie armoury with these wonderful ingredients and get blitzing! Here is another of my favourite smoothie recipes to get you started. Happy slurping.

This smoothie is oh so pretty in pink. I call it…

The Molly Ringwald
Serves 1
1 heaped cup frozen raspberries
1/2 red dragon fruit
1/2 medium beet
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds
Blend it like Beckham. Top with coconut and dragon fruit. Slurp.



I sincerely hope that headline was enough to put Sade in your head for the rest of the afternoon. You’re welcome.

Now, on to my favourite way to kickstart your day in a healthy way. Whaddaya say? Okay, enough of that. I’m talkin’ smoothies ladies and gents! Vitality-giving greens, supercharged superfoods and oh-so-important hydration all in a simple slurp! What more could you ask for? Especially when you can pour it into a jar, secure the lid and head straight out the door. Whether you’re looking for a healthy fast food breakie for a busy morning, a body-nourishing icy treat to curl up with in your reading nook, or you’re just downright lazy and can’t be arsed doing much more than scoop + blitz + guzzle — smoothies are the way forward. Sing it!

I often get asked about my smoothies. Folks assume that having the right ingredients and coming up with happy combos is difficult. It’s not! All you have to do is start collecting your favourite superfoods from your local health food store. They may seem expensive at first but keep in mind you only use a tsp or a tbsp at a time so they last a lot longer than you think. The next trick is to always keep peeled, frozen bananas in sandwich bags in your freezer. Always keep a couple of litres of coconut water in your fridge. Then all you have to do is keep topping up your fruit bowl with fresh seasonal fruit and keep topping up your crisper with fresh leafy greens, or better still, grow them in your garden! Once you’re all set up, you’re shooting from the hip when it comes to your morning smoothies. Stay tuned for part two of this post, I’ll be helping you with a smoothie shopping list so you can get yourself all set up and ready to rock — coming later in the week. 

My latest love affair with the pureed world comes in the form of açaí bowls. Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, these dark purple Brazilian berries are filled with healthy antioxidants, amino acids, fibre, and essential fatty acids. You can’t buy the berries but you can buy frozen açaí puree pouches at your health food store. Açaí bowls are essentially super thick smoothies in a bowl, topped with extra fruit and granola, nuts or other crunch-giving goodies. They are delicious, and a good way to mix it up.

So here are eight of my favourite recipes for you to try. Any questions? Give me a shout!

Christmas Swirl Smoothie

Serves 1
For the red layer:
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 tbsp fresh red currants
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup ice
For the green layer:
1.5 frozen bananas
1/2 avocado
1 handful silverbeet
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 cup coconut water
Blend green layer and put aside. Blend red layer and add to bottom of your glass. Alternate layers until you finish with red on top. Swirl. Slurp.


Tropical Kale Storm
Serves 2
1 cup pineapple
1 mango
2 frozen bananas
2 handfuls of kale
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups coconut water
Blend it like Beckham. Slurp.


Açaí Five-O
Serves 2
2 pouches of açaí puree
1 lrg frozen banana
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 tbsp lacuma powder
1 tbsp maca powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp vegan protein powder (I like Vital Protein vanilla)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1.5 cups coconut water
Blend it like Beckham. You’ll need the ‘bashing stick’ (as I’ve affectionately dubbed the tamper stick).
Pour into two bowls and top with violas, shredded coconut, and Living Intention’s raw superfood cereal in Açaí Blueberry (amazingly delish combo of goodies including açaí, blueberry, bilberry, amla berry, elderberry and camu camu fruit).
One bowl of this and you’ll feel like you can do anything — including donning a bikini and busting some crims.


Buck Up Princess
Serves 1
1 tbsp activated buckwheat
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp maca powder
1 tbsp mesquite powder
1 tbsp LSA (linseed, sunflower seed, almond)
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp vegan protein powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 frozen bananas
2 cups filtered water
Blend it like Beckham. Slurp.
Top with Loving Earth’s cacao nibs and activated buckinis.
I woke up one morning with a horrid gym hangover and an acute case of crankiness so this smoothie was born. It’s packed full of protein for aching muscles, plus some mood enhancers and energy boosters to ease the morning grumps.


Matcha Made in Heaven
Serves 1
2 mangoes
1 handful of kale
1.5 tsp pure matcha powder
1 tsp coconut nectar
2 cups coconut water
Blend it like Beckham. Slurp.
Matcha is a green tea leaf powder. It is a nutrient-rich wholefood and gives you an extra little zing in the mornings. Try it! It adds extra antioxidants to your smoothie and an extra spring in your step.


Mango Goji Love Bowl
Serves 2
2 pouches of açaí puree
1 mango
1/2 cup goji berries
2 sml frozen bananas
1 tbsp LSA
1 tbsp maca powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1.5 cups coconut water
Blend it like Beckham. You’ll need the ‘bashing stick.’
Pour into two bowls and top with shredded coconut and goji berries. Share with a hungry loved one.


Choc Mint Cos I Can
Serves 1
2 lrg cos lettuce (romaine) leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1 frozen banana
1 medjool date
1 heaped tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1.5 cups almond milk
Blend it like Beckham. Top with cacao nibs and mint. Slurp.


Hemp sunrise
Serves 1
For the bottom layer:
4 large strawberries
1 tsp coconut nectar
A little ice
For the top layer:
1/2 cup coconut water
2 nectarines
2 frozen mango cheeks
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp hemp oil
Blend the bottom layer and add to your glass. Blend the top layer and add to your strawberry bottom. Top with shredded coconut and hemp seeds. Slurp.


There is a new Pana Chocolate flavour! My brain cells responded to this news in the same way the British public responded to Kate and Will’s engagement.

Pana Chocolate (previously known as Conscious Chocolate) is my favourite vegan chocolate. Not only is it vegan, it’s also raw, organic, and handmade right here in Melbourne.

Eating this chocolate can cause an out-of-body experience. Eating this chocolate can cause you to accidentally make sexy, private noises in public places. Eating this chocolate can cause you to hear angels trumpeting in the heavens above. I swear.

I met Pana Barbounis, the Chocolatier behind these little squares of joy at World Animal Day last year. I gushed at him like some strange raw dessert groupie. But I reckon he deserves strange raw dessert groupies (I feel a twitter hashtag coming on) because he has made almost everyone’s sinful little indulgence of choice healthier, cruelty-free and more environmentally friendly.

Everything about this product appears to be carefully thought out. The packaging is printed locally in Melbourne on 100% recycled cardboard. They use soy-based inks. Even the foil wrapper is a special recycled variety.

Most importantly it’s the kind of chocolate you can eat guilt-free (well, almost).  It’s raw so it isn’t acidic like regular chocolate and it is sweetened with agave nectar, a low GI natural sweetener. The super food status of cacao is preserved by not cooking it away or diluting it with fats and sugars so it is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  And here’s the best news kids: raw cacao makes you happy. No lie. Raw cacao increases the levels of endorphins released into the brain — these little friends work to lessen pain and decrease stress. It also raises your serotonin, an anti-depressant neurotransmitter.  Not to mention Theobramine, a chemical found in cacao that can lead to mental and physical relaxation. So if someone has a case of the grumps, chuck a bar of Pana Chocolate at them. If you get it in their mouth it might just turn their frown upside down. If you get them in the head, well at least your frown will be turned upside down… just be prepared to run.

Every single flavour is delicious. And every time I think I have settled on my favourite I rediscover a flavour and change my mind again. The cinnamon will be no different. To me it tastes like Christmas.

Where it at? I buy mine from South Melbourne Market Organics and the IGA in Brunswick, on Stewart Street.
What’s the damage? They are $7 a block or you can order them off the website at a lower price. Here’s the link.

*any vegan product reviews found on this blog are my own opinion and have not been paid for or encouraged by the company. I simply get excited when I find awesome vegan products and want to share them with you lot.

What’s your favourite Pana Chocolate flavour?