Sweets

Hazelnut choc bliss balls

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I’m such a huge fan of bliss balls, they are a sinch to make and are a great snack for on the go. It’s easy enough to make them nutrient dense, loaded with good fats, protein, minerals and fibre. I prefer to keep my bliss balls on the fruit free and lower fructose side, firstly as I tend to eat thousands of them when they are super sweet, and secondly as I find I get quite a bad crash from the sugar high later on if they are loaded with dates and maple syrup or agave.

I created this particular recipe to have an example of how to add hemp seeds to your day for my clients. I personally love hemp seeds sprinkled on dishes or added to smoothies, but found that others really wanted another way of incorporating them into snacks/meals. I’m a HUGE fan of hemp seeds as they are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and are therefore great for those who don’t eat or don’t like eating fish. They are also a great source of other fatty acids (making them the perfect anti-inflammatory food), protein, fibre, minerals and B vitamins.

They are also a sustainable food source and are grown here in Australia! Better still, they are finally legal for human consumption in Australia which means they are more readily available, I’ve even seen them in the big supermarket chains!

These are great to whip up when you’re in a hurry, you can even press the mix into a baking tray and cut into slices if you don’t have time for rolling them. They’re also a fun snack to make with little ones, allowing them to get their hands dirty and work on their rolling technique. Enjoy! -Renee x

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes

Makes: 10-12 balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup hazelnuts

  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds

  • 1 tbs coconut oil

  • 2 tbs rice malt syrup (you could also use maple syrup or honey)

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 1⁄2-2 tbs cacao (depends on how chocolaty you like it)

  • desiccated/shredded coconut (make sure it’s sulfur free)

METHOD

  1. Process the hazelnuts, in a food processor/thermomix/blender until they resemble meal/flour (not quite nut butter).

  2. Chuck in the remaining ingredients, except the coconut, and process until everything is smoothish and sticking together, adding a touch more rice malt if the mixture is too dry.

  3. Divide and roll the mixture into golf sized balls.

  4. Sprinkle a handful of the desiccated coconut onto a plate and roll the balls into it until covered.
    These will keep for a 5 days in the fridge, and freeze well too.

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Gluten-Free Tahini Brownies

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Some people are not fans of tahini with sweets, but I LOVE it - the more fat the more satiating, IMO. 

When I was on a strict elimination diet while breast-feeding my youngest with food intolerances this was my go to sweet treat in the evenings when I was craving a little sumthin'-sumthin'.

The Health Benefits of Tahini

Tahini is made from sesame, so it's packed full of minerals like calcium and iron and also loaded with unsaturated fats to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Adding tahini to brownies was just my way of tricking myself into thinking I was giving myself a 'healthy' sweet treat - but really it's just because I love how it combines with there bitterness of the chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 120g of chopped dark chocolate - I love Loving Earth's Dark Chocolate, but you can also make your own 
  • 3 x tbs coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 x tbs hulled tahini (divided into 1 tbs and 3 tbs portions)
  • 3 x tbs of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 x tbs of raw cacao powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 2 x tbs maple syrup (or rice malt syrup)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line a bread loaf pan with baking paper (if not using a silicon one). Otherwise coat liberally with coconut oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Melt chopped chocolate with 1 x tbs of tahini, salt and coconut oiling a double boiler over low heath. Continue to stir until well combined and then remove from heat. 
  4. Combine raw cacao powder and arrowroot in small bowl. Mix with a whisk or spoon until the powders are well mixed and there are no lumps.
  5. Whisk eggs and coconut sugar in a large bowl until fluffy and smooth (about 3 mins).
  6. Spoon the liquid chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture, continue to whisk for another minute.
  7. Slowly add the arrowroot mixture to the bowl while continuing to whisk the mixture until a thick chocolate batter forms. Spoon this mixture into there prepared bread loaf tin.
  8. Stir together the maple syrup and 3 x tbs of tahini in a small bowl until thick and creamy paste forms. Dollop the maple tahini cream onto the top of chocolate batter and fold it into the top of the brownie batter with a fork to create a swirl-like pattern on the surface.
  9. Bake for 22 mins.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before removing from the pan and cutting. 

Makes 12

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Apple & strawberry gluten free muffins

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I've been working on a gluten free muffin recipe that was also egg/soy/dairy free (so it excluded the most common food intolerances that I encounter) AND wasn't too dense AND delicious. I knew I was onto something when my kids literally gobbled up the first batch that I made using the following recipe!

As with all of our recipes, you can swap things like the gluten free flours for regular wheat/spelt/khorasan flour, the milk for any milk your prefer, the coconut sugar for regular cane sugar and the apple puree for banana (or even pumpkin puree).

These gluten free muffins are perfect for lunch boxes or day trips, they keep well for up to 5 days (although best stored in the fridge) and freeze well. Enjoy! -Renee x

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

  • 1/4 cup besan (chickpea) flour

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot/tapioca flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (you can also use regular cane sugar)

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flaxseed combined with 4 tbs water, mixed well and set aside)

  • 1 cup apple puree

  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 1/2 cup milk (nut, soy, rice etc)

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped (you can use any berry)

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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease two muffin trays and place both on a large baking tray and set aside.

  2. Combine the apple puree, sugar, vanilla essence and coconut oil until well mixed.

  3. Add the flours, salt, baking powder and soda, salt, flaxeggs, cinnamon and milk and process until smooth. 

  4. Gently stir in the chopped berries, then pour the mixture into the muffin trays (should make 10-12 muffins.

  5. Place tray in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from trays. Best stored in the fridge if not eaten within 2 days and they freeze well.

 

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Hot Cross Cookies

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I love hot cross buns, and usually make a couple of batches around Easter for the kiddies because they love them too! But with my youngest being off gluten, dairy and soy and me not having enough time to play around with a gluten free recipe for hot cross buns, I decided to work on something a little easier and different, hot cross cookies!

And boy, have they been a hit! They are soft, with a hint of spice and just the right amount of dried fruit. Easy to make, and easily adapted to suit any other intolerances, such as nuts or eggs.

I hope you enjoy these hot cross cookies, just in time for Easter but they are literally perfect for any other occasion x Renee

Prep time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 15-20 mins

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ cups plain flour (for gluten free use: 1 cup almond meal, 1 cup brown rice flour, ½ cup tapioca/arrowroot flour)

  • ½ cup coconut sugar (you can also use regular sugar)

  • ¼ cup nut butter (you could also use sunflower seed butter or use more coconut oil)

  • ½ cup coconut oil

  • 2 tsp vanilla essence

  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1/8 tsp ground fennel

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 2 tbs cacao powder

  • 1 large egg (for egg free use 1 large banana mashed)

  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • ¾ cup dried fruit (1/2 cup sultanas, ¼ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup apricots, roughly chopped)

‘Cross’ batter

  • 2 tbs plain flour (for gluten free, use tapioca/arrowroot flour)

  • 1 tbs rice malt syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1-2 tbs milk (dairy, non dairy etc)

METHOD

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

  2. Cream together the eggs (or banana), sugar, nut butter, coconut oil and vanilla essence.

  3. Add all the remaining cookie ingredients, except the dried fruit, and combine until well mixed. Then add the dried fruit and mix in.

  4. Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture out and form into golf ball sized balls. Place on the baking tray, evenly spaced (these will spread) and gently flatten with your hand or with a fork.

  5. Combine the ‘cross’ batter ingredients, adding the milk in 1/2 tsp increments, until smooth and without lumps. You want this mixture to be thick enough to squeeze through a piping bag (or drizzled over the cookies) and not too runny or it will spread. Pipe the mixture across each cookie, forming a cross.

  6. Place trays in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking tray.

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Dairy Free Chocolate Popsicles

Prep time: 10 minutes

Freezing time: 2 hours

Serves: 4-6

These are a massive hit in our house! I love making these chocolate popsicles because they are dairy free, low sugar and super quick to make! I can whip them up in the morning or early afternoon, knowing that in a couple of hours they will be ready, perfect for those hot days when you need to cool off AND keep the kids happy!

If you need to keep them fructose free omit the dates, otherwise don't be afraid of the realistically small amount of sugar in them! Dates are also fibre rich which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar, and the addition of them in these popsicles adds a special sweetness and creaminess to the texture.

You can also play around with the flavours, omitting the cacao and swapping for carob powder or keeping them vanilla flavoured. If there's a cashew allergy, swap for other nuts such as almonds or macadamias or omit altogether.

I hope you enjoy my dairy free chocolate popsicles as much as we do in my house! x

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • 250 mls coconut milk (you could also use almond, rice or another non dairy milk)

  • 3 fresh dates, roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 2 tbs cacao powder

  • 2-3 tbs rice malt syrup

METHOD

  1. In a food processor or blender, process the cashews until a paste is formed.

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.

  3. Pour the mixture into popsicle moulds (I use these and these).

  4. Place in the freezer for 2 hours until completely frozen. You will need to run the moulds under hot water for a for seconds to remove from the mould.

Carrot & Date Balls

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This beautiful recipe was given to me by dear friend. Without a doubt it was love at first bite - I am HOOKED on these suckers.... and guess what?! So are the kiddos!

These balls are sweet from the delicious medjool dates but the sweetness is nicely balanced by the addition of cinnamon which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Because they are full of carrots they are packed fibre, anti-inflammatory healthy fats and beta-carotene. And I just LOVE the earthy taste of the nutmeg which gives them a delicious autumnal flavour.

At Westside we are constantly talking to clients about having healthy snacks like these on hand, so when you are feeling like a little "sumthim sumthin"  at the end of the day then you have some nutritious options to turn to. Simple!

Plus they take about 10 minutes to make so there really is no excuse.

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 x cups of grated carrot
  • 6-8 x medjool dates
  • 1 x cup of raw nuts (I like pecan but walnut, cashew & almond all work well too).
  • 1 x small handful of shredded coconut
  • 1 x pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 x tsp of ground cinnamon
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1 x tbs of almond meal or LSA to bind 
  • Extra shredded coconut to roll the balls in at the end

Method

  1. Blend all ingredients except for the almond meal/LSA together in a food processor until well combined. 
  2. Stir in the LSA or almond meal
  3. Roll mixture into balls and then roll each ball in some shredded coconut.
  4. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks. 

Enjoy xx 

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Grain Free Apple Cake

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I came across this recipe on Fresh Planet Flavor looking for grain-free sweets to recommend to a client and have come to find it a very reliable, healthy & kid-friendly recipe. I've made a few minor adjustments and added a few steps about how to make your own applesauce because it's very easy to do.

Why Grain-Free?

You can probably tell that a lot of the recipes on our website are grain-free, this is because we find many of our clients struggle to digest them well. Also you can quickly boost the nutrient content of a meal once you swap something like processed white flour for buckwheat flour or coconut flour.

Make Your Own Applesauce

Applesauce works as a wonderful binder in recipes to bring ingredients together. It also add some sweetness and extra fibre to a recipe. You can purchase some from a grocery store but it is very easy to make and will save you a few extra dollars for something else. All you need is 4 ingredients and the cake recipe will leave you with plenty left over for pancakes or baked goods!

 Ingredients for Applesauce

  • 4 apples peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup of water

Method for Applesauce

  1. Place all ingredients into a large stainless steel pot.
  2. Cover and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes until the apples are soft (taking care that the water doesn't completely evaporate while cooking).
  4. Once cooled mash apples with a fork or hand blender

Applesauce will store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Ingredients for Cake

  • 1/3 cup of coconut flour
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced horizontally
  • Coconut oil to grease

Method for Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C
  2. Grease a small cake tin with coconut oil. I used a 10cm x 21cm loaf tin.
  3. Sift the coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt into a small bowl.
  4. Whisk the eggs, sweetener, vanilla essence & applesauce until well combined in a large bowl. 
  5. Gently add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients while continuing to whisk the mixture. The mixture will become very stiff. 
  6. Add the mixture to the pan and smooth the top of the cake. Add the thinly sliced apples to the top.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes until the mixture feels firm to touch and is golden on top.
  8. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.

Serves 6.   

Mini Choc Chip Cookies

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OMG, who doesn’t love tiny little choc chip cookies??? These babies have this lovely kinda wholemeal texture, but the chocolate makes them feel decadent and indulgent. Amazingly they stay really soft if kept in a airtight container, so I take a little box to work at the beginning of the week, for little arvo pick me ups, and they work a real treat! And bonus, my kids absolutely love them which is great as it can be difficult to find treats that are gluten, dairy and soy free for my two year old.

I generally bake them using coconut sugar, but have recently started using rice malt syrup instead in order to cut the sugar content down even further and love them! With rice malt syrup, they're more of a chewy, flat cookie and a little softer so be gently with them. If you're a real sweet tooth, stick with the coconut sugar, otherwise rice malt syrup is the way to go!

-Renee x

Makes 15 or so

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INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 cup (or just under) Loving Earth mylk chocolate, chopped (use 90% Lindt chocolate instead to reduce fructose content further)

  • ½ cup unrefined coconut oil

  • ½ cup coconut sugar*

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 1/3 cup brown rice flour (you can also use almond flour)

  • 1/3 cup of each besan (chickpea) flour and tapioca/arrowroot flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 flax egg (2 tbs ground flaxseed + 4 tbs water mixed together)

  • 1/3 cup of plant based milk (soy, nut, rice, coconut)

  • 1 tbs vinegar

*swap for ½ cup rice malt syrup; adjust milk to 0

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper, grease with a little coconut oil (you 100% need to do this if using rice malt syrup) and set aside. Add the vinegar to the ‘milk’ and roughly chop the chocolate and set both aside.

  2. In a large bowl cream together the coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla extract.

  3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and combine well, then add the milk/vinegar combo and mix well. Stir in the chopped chocolate and sunflower seeds.

  4. Form the dough into walnut sized balls, place on the baking trays and gently flatten with a fork (if you're using rice malt syrup the mix will be quite wet, spoon 1 tbs of batter per cookie, keeping them spaced apart even further). Keep them fairly spaced out because they will expand a little.

  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Keep an eye on them because they can overcook and will lose their chewiness.

**Please note these can dry out pretty quickly, so once they are cool (if there’s any left!) it’s best to keep them in an airtight container. If it’s really hot, best to keep them in the fridge and they’ll last close to a week.

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Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate

I love chocolate so much! Its such a nice treat to have here and there, and although I thoroughly enjoy my quick chocolate recipe, I wanted something that was a bit more true to store bought chocolate without the dairy, refined sugar and fillers.

I always have cacao butter on hand in the cupboard, it stores well and its a nice thing to have on hand for desserts. I had been playing around with a 'nutella' recipe using hazelnuts and thought why not combine the two to make chocolate? The result? A delicious, dairy and refined sugar free chocolate that ticks ALL the boxes. It's enjoyed by all members of my family (especially my youngest who has to avoid dairy to manage his eczema), and I made a big batch to give away in little jars as gifts over the festive season and they were a HUGE hit!

I hope you enjoy this chocolate recipe as much as I do. xRenee

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Cooking time: 25 mins

Total time: 1 hour 25 mins

Makes: 3-4 trays of chocolates in moulds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts*

  • 200 g cacao butter, roughly chopped

  • 1/8-1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

  • 100 g rice malt syrup**

  • 1/4 cup cacao powder

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celcius.

  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper (or silicon baking sheet) and spread hazelnuts on top. Bake for 10-15 mins, rolling the hazelnuts around at the halfway point for even roasting. Remove from oven once the skins have become darker brown and started to split.

  3. Allow the hazelnuts to cool, then place in an airtight container and shake vigorously until the majority of the skins have come off. Once the skins have been removed place in a food processor/blender/thermomix and process until smooth, scraping down the sides to ensure its processed evenly. Set aside.

  4. Set up a double boiler (a pot half filled with water with a glass or metal bowl on top) and bring the water to the boil. Add the cacao butter and melt, stirring occasionally with a whisk.

  5. Once the cacao butter has melted add the remaining ingredients (including the hazelnut butter) and whisk over the heat until well combined.

  6. Pour the mixture into chocolate moulds (I place the moulds on a baking tray so they don't spill as I transfer) and place them in the freezer for 1 hour. As you are pouring the chocolate mix, stir regularly as the hazelnut butter tends to sink to the bottom. These chocolate don't melt as quickly as other homemade ones, but are still best kept in the freezer.

 

*You can use 1/2 cup of store bought hazelnut butter instead

**You can use any other liquid sweetener (honey, maple, coconut nectar etc) or very finely ground coconut sugar. Using rice malt syrup allows this recipe to be fructose friendly.

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Healthy Ginger Bread Cookies

If you like to get your bake on for the festive season, but want to cut down any nasties and/or sugar, than this recipe is for you!

These gingerbread cookies taste like the real deal but contain significantly less sugar AND are gluten, dairy and egg free, so perfect for any loved ones who may have intolerances.

You can make the dough well in advance, or double the batch to make a ton of cookies. Get creative and coat the cookies with our quick chocolate, or add nuts, seeds or dried fruit to jazz them up. Enjoy! xRenee

 

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Makes about 20-30 small cookies, less if your cookie cutter is bigger

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DRY INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup besan (chickpea flour)

  • ½ cup +  2 tbs arrowroot flour 

  • 1 cup + 2 tbs brown rice flour

  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 1/2- 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ½- ¾  cup of fine coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you’d like them)

WET INGREDIENTS

  •  ¼ cup of soy, almond (or any nut milk) or rice milk
  • 1 tbs vinegar (white or apple cider is best)
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbs ground flaxseed + 2 tbs water, mixed together and set aside)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
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METHOD

  1. Add the vinegar to the milk and set aside.
  2. In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients, except the coconut sugar, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the coconut oil, molasses, flax egg, vanilla and coconut sugar with an electric beater until well combined, then add the milk and vinegar mix and beat for a few seconds until combined.
  4. If you have an electric cake mixer, this next part will be easier. You need to slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. I have done this without a mixer, you can add a few tablespoons at a time and mix it in by hand (the mix is quite wt, don't freak out it works!). Once everything is combined scoop into a container, cover with a lid and place in the fridge for 4-6 hours.
  5. When you are ready to bake, take the dough out about 45 minutes before you’d like to cook.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line several baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
  7. Roll out your dough, between two sheets of baking paper, until it is about ½ cm thick. Using your chosen cookie cutter, cut out your cookies and place on your baking trays*. They will expand a little so place them with a bit of space between each one. Bake for around 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them. You want them to brown, but still be soft. Allow to cool, and then dust with icing sugar if you like or serve as is.

* If you don’t have enough space on your trays for all your dough, place the dough back in the fridge for 15 minutes or so until you’re ready to cut them out again.

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Vegan Raspberry & Nutella Raw Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Raspberry Nutella Chesecake

Raspberry, cashews and raw nutella - need I say more? Oh yes... it's also SIMPLE to make. At Westside, we love having raw desserts at our fingertips. It means less temptation for the more heavily-processed sweet foods you might purchase at a shop or cafe. 

For those nut-free folks out there you could look into swapping the cashews for 6 tablespoons of buckwheat grouts, soaked overnight. It won't have the same richness but it will give a similar texture. 

For the fructose-free people then swap the maple syrup and coconut sugars for rice malt syrup or a few drops of stevia. 

Enjoy xx Lucy

Ingredients for Filling:

  • Cashews x 1.5 cups, soaked for 6-8 hours
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup of raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (make your own with this recipe, it's simple!)

Ingredients for Base:

  • 1 cup Hazelnuts, roasted
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut,
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients for the base in a high powdered food processor. Allow motor to run for 2 minutes or so, until the mixture is well combined. 
  2. Spread base mixture into the bottom or a springform pan or silicone baking dish.
  3. Put base into the freezer to cool.
  4. Strain water from cashews and add all filling ingredients to the food processor/thermomix and process until well-combined (about 5 minutes depending on the speed of your motor). Scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl as required.
  5. Spoon filling ingredients onto the cooled base and place cake into the freezer overnight to allow to set.
  6. Remove cake for the freezer and cut the cake into the desired pieces. You may like to allow it melt a little before eating to release more of the flavour.

Makes about 12 slices.

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Not So Berry Teacake

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I don't know about other families, but my kids will positively rip through a box of organic frozen berries if they're in the freezer so I wanted to come up with an alternative to berries that I could use in desserts and smoothies. I start playing around with stewing apples and beetroot with citrus juice in order to create a faux berry flavour and it worked!

I do love a good hidden veggies recipe, and if its a sweet one too than it makes me even happier. Beetroot have exceptionally good nutritional value, and are a great source of fibre, folate,  manganese, iron, potassium and vitamin C, as well as potent antioxidants. They are also naturally sweet so a addition to sweet treats to help lower the added sugar.

Although this recipe is gluten and dairy free, you can sub the flours and milk for any that you like. Swap the nuts for sunflower seeds if it needs to be nut free, or omit altogether. Although cooking the apple and beetroot is a bit time consuming, you actually make enough for two cakes so you can freeze the other half for another time.

This teacake goes so well with a cup of tea on a lazy Saturday afternoon, however if you're a parent to young kiddos like myself, its realistically best eaten with one hand and a lukewarm cuppa in the other! Great for playdates and birthday parties too!

Enjoy! Renee x

Serves 8-10
Prep time: 15 mins
Total cooking time: 55 mins

INGREDIENTS

Not so berry mix:

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1 cm cubes

  • 1 1/2 medium beetroot, peeled and chopped into 1 cm cubes

  • juice of 1 lemon (you will need to keep the zest)

  • juice of 1 orange (you will need to keep the zest)

Crumb mix:

  • 1 tbs coconut sugar

  • zest from above 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup almonds/pistachios/pecans

Cake mix:

  • 1 1/4 cup plant based milk (rice, soy, nutmilk etc)

  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar (ACV)

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/essence

  • 2 cups flour= 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour + 1/4 cup arrowroot/tapioca flour + 1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour)

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb)

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • zest from above orange

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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease cake tin (I use a springform tin) and set aside.
  2. Place the apple, beetroot, lemon and orange juice in a small pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover with 3/4 with a lid. Cook for 20-25 mins until soft. Ensure that there is enough water at all times otherwise it will stick and burn.
  3. Pour off any excess water, puree and set aside. You will only be using half for this cake, the other half can be frozen for future cakes.
  4. While the beetroot and apple is cooking, combine the coconut sugar, lemon zest and nuts in a food processor until roughly chopped and set aside.
  5. Add the ACV to the milk and set aside.
  6. Cream together the coconut sugar, coconut oil and vanilla essence.
  7. Add the flours, baking powder and soda, salt, orange zest, and cinnamon and combine well. Pour in the milk + ACV mix and combine until smooth, ensuring there are no lumps.
  8. Pour batter into cake mix, giving a bang to get out any air bubbles. Gently add half the apple beetroot puree (freeze the other half for another cake), distributing it throughout the cake mix.
  9. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the cake, distributing it evenly.
  10. Cover the cake with foil, place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Gluten free cakes can become quite dry if over baked, so ensure it isn't left in the oven for too long.
  11. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.
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Vegan Red Velvet Cake with Salted Caramel Ganache

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This is one of those hidden veggies, low refined sugar, sweet treats that we love here at Westside Wellness! It's been made for many a tea or birthday party, the ganache can be swapped for icing and it can even be poured into muffin tins for easier portioning.

The recipe is egg, dairy and gluten free so useful for families with intolerances and great for parties where different diets need to be catered to, but you can swap all of those for regular flour and dairy milk if preferred. 

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium beetroots, peeled and chopped into 2 cm cubes

  • ½ cup coconut sugar

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or essence

  • 2 cups of flour: 1 ½ cups brown rice flour, ¼ cup corn flour, ¼ cup besan (chickpea) flour *

  • ¼ cup cacao

  • 1 tsp bicarb (baking soda)

  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¾ cup of plant-based milk **

  • 2 tbs vinegar

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Add vinegar to milk and set aside.
  3. Place the chopped up beetroot into a small pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 20-30 minutes. You will need to keep an eye on this, stirring occasionally and adding a bit more water if it starts to dry out. Stab beetroot with a fork or skewer, you want it fairly soft, a bit firm is ok though.
  4. Once beetroot is cooked, puree it until smoothish (it will have a bit of texture to it).
  5. Cream together the pureed beetroot, coconut sugar, coconut oil and vanilla essence.
  6. Add the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt and process until smooth.
  7. Add the milk and vinegar mix, again processing till smooth (this is quite a runny mixture, do not add more flour).
  8. Pour mixture into a greased cake tin, bang on bench to release any air bubbles.
  9. Bake at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on your oven; gluten free cakes tend to cook quicker and will dry out if over cooked. Check with a skewer, if it comes out clean, or with dry crumbs on it, the cake is ready.
  10. Gluten free cakes can be soft and crumbly, allow to completely cool before turning out of tin.

CARAMEL GANACHE INGREDIENTS

METHOD

  1. Using a small saucepan and bowl as a double boiler, half fill the saucepan with water and bring to the boil.
  2. Break up the chocolate and add to the bowl on top, when most of it has melted, add the salt and coconut cream.
  3. Whisk gently until you have a smooth caramel.
  4. Allow to cool for a minute or two, then pour over your cake. You’ll want a plate slightly bigger than the cake to catch the run off.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs coconut oil

  • 1 tbs coconut paste (I use loving earth)

  • 2 tbs rice malt syrup

  • 1 ½- 2 tbs cacao powder (use less or more depending on how strong you’d like the chocolate flavour)

METHOD

  1. Melt the coconut oil and coconut paste over a gentle heat.
  2. Once melted, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until smooth
  3. Remove from heat and continue whisking, allowing the mix to cool slightly
  4. Spread over cooled cake and caramel ganache. As the mixture cools, it will firm up more. If you store the cake in the fridge, it will get a whiteish sheen, this is just the coconut oil and will go away once the cake is at room temp.

* You can use any combo of gluten free flours, this is the combination that I’ve found works best, but you could probably use just brown rice and corn flour if you don’t have besan. Regular wheat or spelt flour also work great

** Any plant based milks will work, as will regular dairy milk

 

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Dairy & Refined Sugar Free Quick Chocolate

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I love chocolate! There I said it! Sometimes I get cravings for a little choccie and know that if I buy some sugar filled crap or even the so called 'sugar free' chocolates that are actually delicious, I will feel yuck and totally remorseful about the choice. So I came up with this recipe for quick homemade chocolate. It takes a couple of minutes to prep than you can chuck it in the freezer and be eating it in as little as 15 minutes (if you're happy with something a little fudgy) and up to 30 minutes for 'proper' chocolate.

Because its made with coconut oil, it does need to stay refrigerated or frozen (I actually like keeping mine in the freezer, helps to stop eating it all in one go!). If you don't have chocolate moulds, you can line a small baking tray with baking paper, pour the mix on top and chuck in the freezer. Break it up into chocolate bark.

This recipe is super versatile, you can add frozen berries, dried fruit, crushed nuts and seeds. You can also you the liquid mix to dip chocolates or ice cream blocks into or drizzle over the top of desserts. Enjoy!

-Renee x

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs rice malt syrup
  • 1 ½ - 2 tbs cacao (depending on how strong you like your chocolate)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Optional- 10 nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, cashews etc), roughly crushed

Method

  1. On a low heat, gently melt all the ingredients together, using a whisk to combine.
  2. If you're using nuts, place a small amount in each mould or spread onto the baking paper.
  3. Allow to cool for a minute, whisk again to combine, pour into chocolate moulds * and place immediately in the freezer. These will take 20-30 minutes to completely set, but I also like to eat them after about 10-15 minutes as they have a consistency like fudge.

Once set, the chocolate should be kept in the fridge or freezer.

*I got cheap heart shaped moulds from kmart, and chocolate block moulds from Heavenly Cacao

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Wheat & Refined Sugar Free Lactation Cookies

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Lactation cookies are loaded with nutritious ingredients that also double as galactogogues, foods that may help to boost breastmilk supply. Oats, brewers yeast and flaxseed all work together to get that supply up (in conjunction with regular feeding and/or pumping).

Renee created this recipe when she had her second son, firstly because she needed a tasty treat to get her through those hours and hours of breastfeeding and secondly because so many recipe out there contained white flour, white sugar and not much else. She wanted a recipe that was delicious but also nutritious, providing protein and good fats and could be eaten with one hand (she knows what its like to spend months eating with only one hand!).

You can sub the gluten free flours for spelt, khorasan or wheat flour, the coconut sugar for regular or rapadura sugar and the oats for rice flakes, almond meal or extra flour (although the oats are a key milk boosting component in the recipe!).

We love baking a fresh batch of these and including them in food hampers we take to our mumma friends who've just had a baby. They can be made in advance and freeze/defrost exceptionally well. Enjoy! (.)(.)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour *
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour *
  • 1/4 cup besan (chickpea flour) *
  • 11/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb (baking soda)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbs ground flaxseed (linseed)
  • 2 eggs (or 2 flaxeggs: 2 tbs ground flaxseed & 4 tbs water combined then let sit for 10 mins + 1 tbs plant based milk)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup coconut sugar, depending on how sweet you’d like them
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oats
  • 3 tbs brewers yeast
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 fresh dates, cut up
  • small handful of almonds, crushed (optional)
  • *(1 cup total flour so you can use wholemeal wheat or spelt flour instead)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Cream together sugar, vanilla, dates and coconut oil. Add eggs/flaxeggs and combine until well mixed.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the crushed almonds, and combine until well mixed (I do this in a food processor to make the mixture quite smooth).
  4. Add the almonds and stir through by hand.
  5. Divide the mixture into golf ball sized balls and place even only a greased (or line with baking paper) baking tray. They don’t spread hugely but keep them a bit separate. Using a fork gently flatten the dough balls slightly.
  6. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

These will last around 5 days in the fridge or can be frozen.

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Vanilla Chia Pudding

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We love chia pudding! It's so easy to whip up, it tastes good and is super nutritious being high in omega 3, fibre, protein and calcium. Prep it on a Sunday night for breakfasts and snacks on the go through the week. You can also divide into smaller servings for the kiddos as well!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 tbs rice malt syrup (or maple syrup)

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed. 
  2. Use a whisk to stir regularly to prevent the chia seeds from clumping on the bottom. 
  3. Once the mix has thickened a little, pour into 4-5 jars or containers and refrigerate, the puddings will need to set overnight or for at least 8 hours. 
  4. Top with fresh or frozen fruit, a sprinkling of hemp seeds, activated buckwheat or other healthy goodies. 

These will last 4-5 days in the fridge.

Healthy Banana Bread

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Banana bread is an absolute staple in our house, whether it’s a quick snack with a cuppa, served with nut butter for breakfast, or a special piece of ‘cake’ for the toddler, it’s something that always needs to be in supply.

I love this recipe because it’s versatile, you can use whatever is in the cupboard, make it vegan and gluten free or not, and it’s always tasty. This is the gluten free version, however I’ve made it with regular wheat and wholemeal spelt flour and it’s been just as good. I generally use the Mayver’s cacao peanut butter, but any nut butter will do, tahini works great too. If there’s a nut allergy just substitute the nut butter for the same amount in coconut oil.

Up until recently I always made it with only 2 bananas, as that seems to be what we had on hand to spare, however I’ve been trialing 3 bananas and it’s freakin brilliant, sweeter with a stronger banana flavour and even softer while still firm enough to toast. What more could you ask for?

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Banana Bread

WET INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup of non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbs rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe bananas (2 bananas gives a milder flavour, but 3 will give that typical banana bread flavour)
  • 2 tbs nut butter (tahini is also amazing instead)
  • 3 fresh dates, seeds removed

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ¾ cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • ¼ cup cornflour (or arrowroot powder)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp ginger powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Grease a loaf tin with coconut oil and set aside.
  2. Place all the wet ingredients into a bowl and ‘cream’ together with a hand held mixer until smooth.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl, process and again process until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf tin. Bang it on the bench to remove any air bubbles, cover with foil and place in the middle of the oven. Bake at 150 degrees for approximately 1 hour, this will depend on your oven and the flour you use. I’ve found that the gluten free version takes around an hour, whereas spelt and wheat flours take more like an hour and a half.
  5. You will need to keep an eye on this the first time you make it. If the top browns too quickly lower the heat. The banana bread is ready when it is brown on top, firm to touch and a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool before turning it out of the loaf tin.

This will keep up to 5 days in the fridge or a few days on the bench. If we manage to not eat it in a day or so, I actually like it going a little stale as it toasts nice and crispy! However, this banana bread is still excellent for toasting.

If you have time and the ingredients, bake two loaves and slice one and freeze it, I love having a pre-sliced loaf in the freezer for when I don’t have any snacks for me and my toddler.

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