Healthy Almond-Cacao Protein Balls

Despite being flat out with uni exams at the moment, this Sunday I’m going to share the easy recipe I use for my cocoa protein balls. Unfortunately, my phone camera doesn’t do them justice – they look more like dung balls here – but trust me, they are delicious.

Protein balls are fantastic as a filling, healthy snack. Just try not to go crazy on them (they are very moreish). I use coconut oil because it much more filling compared to lots of other cooking oils, and seems to help stick them together.

Each ball has about 205 calories and is dense with healthy fats and protein to make it the perfect snack.

My recipe makes 5. You will need:

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 50g sultanas
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Put all dry ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth
  2. Put peanut butter and coconut oil in the microwave for 1 minute
  3. Pour peanut butter/coconut oil mixture into dry ingredients and mix with spoon.
  4. Using your hands form the mixture into 5 little protein balls
  5. Place in fridge for an hour
  6. Enjoy!

xx

Let me know if you try the recipe out!

Lid & Jar| Cafe Review

I started off this week with breakfast at Lid & Jar in Chatswood. It’s a lovely cafe in a peaceful, contemporary setting with plenty of space to relax and enjoy your meal, but I do find it on the upper end price-wise.

I had a tough time choosing between what I got and their fluffy French toast with bacon drizzled in maple syrup, but in light of all I ate at Easter last weekend, I ended up going for ‘the green bowl’. This was a raw mix of kale, avocado, broccolini, asparagus, zucchini and egg, drizzled with pesto and a sprinkle of quinoa. The meal itself was lovely (but not that filling – I was hungry again a couple of hours later), but I complemented it with a black coffee which (even for a keen coffee fan like myself) tasted incredibly sharp and bitter.

Getting Lost Amongst the Sea Shells

And JUST after we finished up with the Easter long weekend, we were blessed with yet another long weekend due to Anzac day (see the awesome, slightly excessive cookie I baked here).

I was luckily enough to be invited up for a trip to Hawks Nest for the weekend, which is one of my favourite coastal getaways, as it brings back memories of countless holidays I had there as a kid.

It’s just a 2 hour drive from Sydney, and I’ve always had a secret love for the peacefulness of car trips, but I did bring my book The Girl on the Train to help pass the time. Side note on the book: it’s incredible. If you haven’t read it, make sure you do, although beware it’s very addictive and easy to get lost in. Or, take the lazy route and watch the movie, because it’s one of the few films that is as exciting as the book.

We were only up at the holiday house for 3 days, and in that time we grabbed night-time ice creams, went for walks on the beach where I practiced my photography on the seashells, did bike rides, went for ocean swims and did a bunch of bush walks. Below is a pic I snapped on a cycle to Winda Woppa, which I took just as the sun was setting. The scenery was breath-taking, and I really took a moment to soak it all up.

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My favourite day by far was bang in the middle when we took the speedboat out for the day. The best feeling in the world is having a salty ocean breeze dancing on my face and hair, and this was perfect with the sun shining down and warming us up. We sped around the bay admiring the houses and beaches in the Nelson’s Bay area and stopped to grab coffees at a cute little dockside coffee station at midday. We wrapped up the day at Tea Gardens (neighbouring suburb) and sat at a quaint cafe for tea and scones which were delicious.

I had a divine weekend and was a little upset when it was over so quickly. I’m already excited to go back and if you ever get the chance to go to Hawks Nest, it’s the perfect place for a beachside holiday in a location that isn’t too built-up or populated.

xx

Easter Carrot Cake Cupcakes

This easter long weekend I decided to have an Easter Tea Party to celebrate. It was the perfect morning tea to begin the day with close friends and family.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes are the perfect size to enjoy the carrot-cinnamon flavour, without feeling ill off a massive piece of cake. I do my Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Betty Crocker Vanilla Icing (because it really is the tastiest), but they are also delicious with cream cheese icing ← I’ll link my go-to recipe.

I decorated the cupcakes with edible mini wafer flowers (which you can buy at most supermarkets) and complemented the cupcakes with warmed hot cross buns, choccy eggs and Earl Grey Tea. Delicious!

Recipe (makes 6)

You will need:

  • 2/3 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 grated large carrot or 1 grated medium carrot
  • 1 egg

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C, line a cupcake baking tin with patty pans.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and stir.
  3. Slowly mix in carrot and oil
  4. Beat egg in separate bowl and then mix in with all ingredients
  5. Pour mixture in patty pans (about 2/3 full)
  6. Bake for 18 minutes

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Then enjoy!! Happy Easter everybody, hope you have a lovely weekend whether you celebrate it or not 🙂

xx

Escaping to Byron Bay on a Whim

For months now my best friend and I have been playing with the idea of doing a sporadic trip away to experience something different from Sydney for a couple of days. So, about a month ago (on a whim) we just thought FUCK it and booked tickets to Byron Bay.

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Byron Bay is a coastal town in Australia and is only an hour flight (or an uncomfortably long 9 hour drive) from Sydney. It’s got beautiful beaches and bushwalks (one to the Byron Lighthouse pictured above) but is also known for its relaxed, hippie vibe and alternative culture – it has lots of vegan destinations, where you can find eco-friendly products.

We wanted to keep the trip pretty cheap since we booked last minute and didn’t have reams of cash to work with. The flights weren’t too cruel to the budget but we tried to be cost effective with accommodation. We stayed in a caravan park, only a 10 minute walk from the centre of town, and were given a sweet little cabin which had a double bed, a stove, microwave, tv, eating area and a small bathroom. Since we didn’t plan to spend that much time in our rooms it was absolutely perfect.

We stayed 7 days, and spent time swimming on the main beach, shopping, buying ice-creams from the local favourite In The Pink (I was a fiend for the chunky MARS icecream), trying restaurants and doing walks along the beach and to some of the look-out points over the ocean:

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On one of the days we took a trip to a highly recommended place called The Farm, which is a community owned farm (that you can take a look around) which uses some of its produce for a great restaurant called the Three Blue Ducks. We made the grand mistake of deciding to walk from Byron to the restaurant (in 33˚C heat I’ll add), which took about 1.5 hours, so by the time we got there we were ravenous and felt like we were going to collapse from dehydration.

Luckily, the restaurant had delicious lunch options and I indulged in sticky pork ribs with lime, and quenched my thirst with hibiscus, elderflower, ginger & tumeric kombucha. We were sitting on wooden benches right in the middle of the farm and had roosters waltzing around our feet as we ate.

A couple of nights we tried Byron’s bars (which have a huge backpacker demographic) and our favourite by far was the Railway Bar. It was very casual (I rocked up wearing flip flops) and had people all ages enjoying a drink together. Some nights we didn’t feel like going out, and instead bought ingredients to make nachos, pasta or burritos, which we would enjoy in bed whilst watching TV.

I also found the Love Byron Bay chocolate ’boutique’, and I’m still deciding if it was an amazing or concerning discovery. After I found out that they sold almost every type of chocolate under the sun (they even had 100% Ecuadorian dark chocolate) I must have spent about AU$15 every day just buying bars of choccy to taste.

All in all we had a wonderful week relaxing and enjoy our time together and we will definitely go back. It was about my fifth time to Byron, and every time I go I discover a whole lot more – I would definitely recommend travelling there if you get the chance!

xx

 

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Dodger blue for an exciting escape

 

Ultimate Homemade Freakshake

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Okay find your stretchy pants and prepare yourself for the treat of the year.

So everyone knows I have a huge choccy obsession, and to satisfy my latest cravings I decided to create the ultimate Freakshake (looks delicious, I know). For those of you who don’t know what a Freakshake is (don’t worry I too only discovered this incredible dessert very recently) it’s basically a thickshake that has added extras to make it completely over the top, and so naturally, even better.

It’s very easy to whip up which makes it the perfect quick treat for a party, special occasion or (in my case) a midnight snack.

You will need:

  • Tiramisu Kit Kat
  • Twix Bar
  • Mini Toblerone
  • Plain regular donuts (you can choose donuts with toppings, but I found this to be too intense and overwhelmingly rich).
  • Vanilla icecream
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • Whipped cream
  • Jumbo party straws
  • Fancy milkshake glass

Method:

  1. Pop three generous scoops of ice cream, the milk and the cocoa powder into a blender, and whip together.
  2. Pour the mixture into the milkshake glass, until about 3/4 full. Fill up the rest of the glass with whipped cream.
  3. Decorate away ~ go crazy poking the choccies into whipped cream.
  4. Slide the donuts onto the straws and pop in (make sure to do this before the straws are in the shake, or as you fiddle it will overflow).
  5. Enjoy!

And it’s as easy as that. There’s your perfect dessert for a cheeky cheat day.

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xx

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A dash of Fuschia perfectly encapsulates this fun-loving recipe

A Day in my Life

After pushing myself for an hour through a tough gym class, I set off to the city mall to do some serious Christmas shopping.

My goal today was to buy presents for the important people in my life and getting all of them under my belt felt like a massive accomplishment. I sifted through dozens of stores throughout the day and finally ended with a mix of presents I am really happy with.

For Mum, I got a satin robe with floral detail and some black cotton placemats/marble coasters to match her dining room. For dad, I got the Gillette gift pack and a new stainless steel kettle because their current one was $7 from Aldi and the plastic is already starting to crack. I also got my best friend two MAC lipsticks (Faux and M.A.C. red) and a satin nightie which I got myself as well so we can match! Satin is a huge favourite of mine at the moment because I just love the silky feel of it against my skin. Even better, the material doesn’t make me overheat on balmy nights considering we are moving into summer here in Australia.

I also had a cheeky treat myself, and bought myself a Belgian waffle at Oliver Brown which was delicious, but I have to say it did feel a little funny just hanging out in the chocolateria alone, amongst couples who were chatting and eating fondue together.

For lunch I explored a little eatery plaza called ‘Hawker Lane’ which offers a fusion of Asian cuisines. However, feeling a little unadventurous today, I went for my go-to brown rice avocado/salmon sushi roll and some edamame beans. Yum!

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Once I got home I began to prepare dinner, whilst watching the Netflix movie How to be Single which is actually incredibly funny, and I would definitely recommend. It’s also really relatable to my life right now… For dinner, I fried up some homemade falafels and paired them with a light baby spinach salad and some butter chicken.

I think I’ll share my butter chicken recipe in a later post. It’s much healthier than the typical restaurant bought butter chicken but still rich with flavour and spice.

xx

Christmassy Gingerbread Truffles

These are one of the easiest Christmas treats to make, and easily one of the tastiest.

All I used was one packet of gingersnaps, half a tub of cream cheese, chocolate sprinkles, icing sugar and cream.

After blending the gingersnaps into a fine powder using my NutriBullet, I added a dollop of cream cheese and kneaded the mixture with my fingers to create a cookie dough texture.

Then, still using my hands I created the round little truffle balls and laid them out on a plate. Placing them in the fridge for 15 minutes, I waited for them to cool whilst whisking up a spoon of cream cheese, plain cream and half a spoon of icing sugar into an icing paste. After taking them out the fridge I spread the icing on top and decorated the truffles with the chocolate sprinkles.

This recipe is so easy to whip up quickly for friends, or if you are just craving a christmassy themed treat. It has really settled me into the spirit of the Christmas season. Plus, their small size means you won’t over-indulge when treating yourself to one.

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Happy festivities

xx

Girl’s Day Out

It was mum’s birthday last Friday and I wanted to make it super special this year, because over the past few years I have been really busy and stressed around this time and I felt I hadn’t really treated her properly for her birthday in a long time.

To make the day memorable, I planned it out well in advance. The morning began with a massage with a local masseuse which I booked a couple of days prior.

Mum really love experiences over more ‘stuff’ so I made sure I organised things that would be special memories.

After her massage I picked her up and we went to lunch at a French Restaurant (which has a string of great reviews and recommendations) called Le Bouchon.

The lunch was even better than I had anticipated, the restaurant is in a cosy hole in the wall setting, but has elegance and style with its walnut coloured wooden tables and gold plated decor. The authenticity of the French cuisine was enhanced as all the waiters were French and went above and beyond to ensure we had a pleasant dining experience. I ordered a Crispy Pork Belly in a crushed apple sauce, and Mum decided to be a bit more adventurous and got Sauteed Calves Liver with parsnip chips, which to my surprise was actually really tasty. We shared a glass of white House Wine as Mum isn’t a big drinker and enjoyed chatting for a couple of hours.

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After lunch, we set off to the shopping mall and I bought her a pair of black leather boots as she has been saying lately that her current pair are a bit worn down. Then we went to a nail salon and we got shellac manicures done together.

***

For dinner I wanted to surprise Mum with a home-cooked meal.

I consulted a traditional English cookbook for recipes that are perfect for the drab and windy weather we have been having recently. For the entree I made corn scones with an avocado and soft cheese topping, garnished with capers and diced bacon.

For the main meal we had a chicken and leek hotpot with a chickpea and feta salad. Finally for dessert I challenged myself to make an apple pie.

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The whole meal actually went really well and Mum loved all of it, which surprised me because something always seems to go awry when I work in a kitchen with lots of things boiling and bubbling and timers constantly going off.

What would a birthday be without presents, as I mentioned earlier Mum isn’t a massive fan of ‘things’ and doesn’t like candles, homewares, perfumes or make up.

So, I opted in for a $50 gift card for Dymocks and I spent $100 on a voucher for a high tea for two at the Queen Victoria Building Tea Room.

Overall it was a very successful day and I had so much fun treating Mum!

xx

My Weird Guilty Pleasure… Roast Pumpkin

I am the world’s biggest snacker.

When I’m studying from home and all I want to do is eat and not work.

i’ve found that making a snack that’s a little more filling gives my stomach the satisfaction it needs, and stops me from eating a thousand calorie-dense snacks all day.

A staple snack I make (you can also use this as a side for dinner/lunch) is roast pumpkin bites. After pre-heating the oven to 200˚C (400˚F) all I do is peel and chop up about 1/3 of a pumpkin into bite sized pieces. Then I lay them out on a tray that’s lined with baking paper, and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Next, I season them with a sprinkle of thyme, basil, salt and paprika and then chuck on a handful of chopped walnuts.

Then, I slide them into the oven for 30 minutes.

This is a delicious little snack that stops all the cravings for food and it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

It’s so delicious and easy if you haven’t you should definitely give it a go.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

xx