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'No Guilt' Raw Choc Bars (Recipe)

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Ok, since learning how to make raw chocolate, I have become a totally obsessed with making clean treats.  Almost weekly now I am whipping something new up in the kitchen because it's just so easy!  The best part is being able to be creative.  It really has become this new creative outlet for me.  I would never haveconsidered myself a creative in the kitchen, but now I am in love with it!  There is no right or wrong, so the pressure is off.  It's so simple to taste-test as you go along (and delicious!) add a little of this or a little of that.  So with that in mind, I came up with this super easy chocolate block.  I think I even did it in 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • Half a cup of raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsps of rice malt syrup
  • 2 Tbsps of coconut oil
  • Half a cup of puffed quinoa (or use buckwheat from crunch)
  • Half a cup of desiccated coconut
  • Handful of dried cranberries (soaked for an hour)

Method:

  • Blot excess water from your cranberries.
  • Microwave the coconut oil until completely melted.
  • Stirring constantly, slowly add your raw cacao powder.
  • Once smooth and consistent, add you rice malt syrup.
  • Continue stirring constantly and gradually add your quinoa (or buckwheat), cranberries and coconut.
  • Once even, pour into a lined tray and evenly spread.  Decorate as desired.  I sprinkle coconut on mine, but feel free to get creative!
  • Simply refrigerate until set.

Delish!

xSx

Recipe: Guilt Free Brownie Slice

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This slice has got to be my favourite that I have made.  It was actually meant to be a cashew cookie dough slice, but the cashew centre just wasn't working for me so I cut it and made this delicious slice instead.  A friend from work's reaction was the best "omg yum, it doesn't even taste healthy", a good one to trick your kids into eating :) All you need:

Base

1/2 cup rolled oats

10 medjool dates (soaked for an hour)

5 dried figs (soaked for an hour)

1/4 cup chia seeds (soaked for 15 minutes)

1/2 - 3/4 of cup shredded/desiccated coconut

1/4 cup of raw cacao powder

1/4 cup of almond meal

1 cup of cashews (soaked for an hour - 2 hours)

Vanilla Extract to taste (I use 2 Tbspns)

Chocolate Top

2 heaps Tbspns of coconut oil

2 Tbspns of rice malt syrup

1/3 cup of raw cacao powder

ground goji berries and coconut dusted on top

Method

Prepare your cashews, figs, dates and chia seeds for pre-soaking.

Chop and blitz your dates and figs.  Be sure that you have carefully removed all seeds.

Blitz your cashews and rolled oats, then add to your mixture dried fruit mixture.  Drain your chai seeds and add to the mix, also add your coconut and almond meals.

Once thoroughly combined, gradually add your raw cacao powder and vanilla extract.  These ingredients are added to taste, the sweeter you want them, the more you add.

Melt your coconut oil in a heatproof bowl and gradually add your raw cacao powder, stirring constantly.  Once combined, add your rice malt syrup and stir until smooth.

Pour your choc mix evenly over your brownie base and refrigerate to set.

Once your slice has set, you can decorate with ground nuts, seeds, berries, coconut.. anything you like :)

xSx

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Recipe: Vegan Bounty Slice

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Everyone knows how obsessed with whole food shopping I am (The Source Bulk Foods, anyone.?!) especially making healthier alternatives to settle my major sweet tooth (everyone also knows how much I love chocolate).  I love this healthy bounty slice!  I made it for the first time over the weekend and it's a winner.  It's all the categories; vegan, paleo, sugar free*, gluten free and diary free.  A delicious treat for lunch boxes, after work snack, get togethers, picnics etc, plus it's super easy to make and fun for the kids (no cooking required). Ingredients (remember to use organic where possible)

Bounty Middle

1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 1.5 - 2 hours)

3 cups of shredded coconut

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup rice malt syrup

pinch of Himilayan rock salt

Choc Base

10 Medjool dates (pitted)

1 cup almond meal

1 1/1 cups shredded coconut

2 Tbs Rice Malt Syrup

2 Tbs Raw Cacao powder

2 Tbs ground Chia Seeds

pinch of Himilayan rock salt

Choc Top

1/4 Cup raw cacao powder

2/3 Cup Coconut oil

1/4 Cup Rice Malt Syrup

1 Tbs of vanilla extract

Method

Chop all of your dates (checking for and removing any pips) and place all of the base ingredients into a food processor.  Mix until all ingredients are sticky, almost dough like.

Firmly press the base into your lined pan, being careful to maintain an even consistency.  Place in the freezer while you make the Bounty filling.

Combine all of the Bounty Middle ingredients into your food processor and mix until even and sticky.

Firmly press the Bounty Middle mix onto your Choc Base.  If needed, use the back of a warm spoon to even your mix out.  Place back into freezer while you make your Choc Topping.

Melt your coconut oil and whisk in your rice malt syrup and cocao powder; being careful to keep the mixture even and smooth.

Lightly and evenly drizzle onto the top of  your Bounty Middle mix, getting to all the corners.  Freeze for an hour to set.

Sprinkle with some shredded coconut and enjoy!

Quick note for cooking with raw cocao powder;  Raw Cacao is the raw and unsweetened form of chocolate and therefore is rather bitter.  The rule of thumb is to use 1/3 less than you would if you were using sugared/processed Cocoa cooking powder.

*this recipe is processed sugar free.  Dates and Rice Malt Syrup are a healthier and more natural alternative to sugar.

 

Recipe: Delicious Infused Water

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We all know the 8-glasses-of-water-a-day drill, but how boring can water be though, seriously.   While there are some days where 8 glasses of water is enough, there are other times where we should be aiming for 3 litres.  It is important to be consistently drinking water, especially when we know that our bodies (us!) are around 70% water! I have created a delicious infused water blend to keep me reaching for water over sweeter drinks throughout the day:

  • Mint leaves
  • Half a Lime
  • Half a Lemon
  • 2 Litres of water

Not only is it delicious, but it helps flush nasty toxins from the body and assists to alkaline the system.

Mix up a jug of it and keep it in the fridge or get a glass bottle (or BPA free plastic bottle) and keep on your desk to drink throughout the work day.

Soda water also goes great with this mix.  Think Vodka, Lime and Soda...sans Vodka and more flavour, super refreshing.

Infused water is a great alternative over cordial for the kids!  Just chop up their favourite fruits and add them to the jug.

I would love to hear your favourite infused water blends in the comment section below.

xSx

 

My jug at home

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Recipe: My Favourite Breakfast Smoothie

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This breakfast smoothie is the bomb!  Not only is it delicious, but I look forward to it each morning.  Plus it's super easy to clean up, bonus for when you're in the morning rush. Packed with protein and nutrients, this smoothie keeps me full all morning long.

Using your blender (I use a Magic Bullet), load up the cup with the following:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsps of coconut
  • A few mint leaves
  • 3 (or 4) heaped Tbsps of natural Greek yoghurt
  • 1 large handful of washed blueberries (alternative: frozen berries / other berries)
  • 1/2 cup of water (alternative: coconut water / almond milk)

Blend, stop, shake the cup and then blend again.

Enjoy!

 

Here's the ingredients that I use:

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Better than Coffee!

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We all can struggle to wake up in the morning, but for those that are caffeine dependant, you could be doing more harm than you realise. Caffeine in small doses is generally fine for consumption, but your daily coffee, whether you're a 3 cups a day or just one cup a day coffee drinker, could be causing chaos to your nervous system, especially if you find that you are particularly stressed. Taking a caffeine detox every so often will do wonders for your system! Here are my tips for healthier wake-up substitutes.

Lemon Water I drink lemon water every day, I love it! In summer I have a jug of water in the fridge with half a lemon, half a lime and around 5 mint leaves. It's delicious, refreshing and aids the liver with detoxification. I even have mint and lemon in my water bottle on my desk a few times a week. The only caution with this one is to try and use a straw to limit the acidity on your teeth.

Morning exercise Put your work-out gear on and walk part of the way to work. I know the days that I walk half an hour to the next train station in my gym gear, are the days where I feel the most energised when I arrive to the office. Even if the walk wasn't strenuous, I still feel like I have moved my body and done something physical, especially before I spend many hours at a desk with little movement. If you drive to work, make an effort to get a 20 minute walk in before you leave (walk the dog, snoop on neighbours..) or even arrive at work early and take a walk around the block. You will certainly feel more awake after it.

Fresh air and sunlight Our bodies have a natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. We are naturally designed to wake up to light and wind down from dusk. When you wake, open the curtains and your windows. This will activate your body into wake mode.

Get out of bed when your alarm first goes off If you wake before your alarm, get up then. When we fall back asleep or take our time getting up, we are creating a sluggish state which can set the tone for the day ahead. You will also benefit from being able to take your time getting ready, rather than rushing.

Get enough sleep If you find that you are still tired when your alarm goes off (we have all been there..) make an effort to get to bed earlier. Just add 30 mins every week or so until you find the right amount of sleep for you. You will know that you are getting enough sleep when you wake up feeling refreshed. That mythical morning fresh feeling does exist and you will definitely be less likely to reach for coffee when you feel this great in the morning!

Sleep with your phone in your living room We all know the "roll over, grab phone, alarm off, click email, scroll Facebook, roll out of bed" routine. Set an old-school alarm and have your phone in another room. This will force you to get out of bed earlier to check your phone and will also create a more peaceful sleeping environment.

Cooler than normal shower Whether this shower is at your workplace after your morning exercise or right after you get out of bed, a cooler than normal shower has calming effects on our nervous system, strengthens vagal tone and wakes your senses up and leaves you feeling extra fresh!

Let me know which healthier routine options work for you and if you have any other tips that work for you, leave a comment below - I would love to hear them!

xSx

Paleo Bliss Balls

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Paleo Energy Balls These deliscious little snack balls are great for on the go or fun lunchbox additions. Full of fibre and protein, these little snack balls are great snacking items.

Get your hands ready..

1 Handful of Cashews 1 Handful of Almonds 2 Handfuls of Dates 1 Handful of Figs 2 Tbsps of Goji Berries 2 Tbsps of Chia Seeds 3 Tbsps of Coconut 1 Tbsps of Coconut Oil

Using a high powered blender/mixer, blend each dry item into a fine mix and blend together. Chop figs and dates into small pieces and blend into a soft mix.

The key here is to blend (and blend some more) all of the items together.

Melt your coconut oil in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute (as required).

In your soft mix (figs and dates) gradually add the dry mix, blending as you go. If you find that the mix is not blending as well, add a teaspoon of coconut at a time as this will help combine the ingredients.

If you don't have a mixer, you can do this by hand, by working the dry items through as you go (quite the arm workout!).

Roll into small balls and refrigerate.

Enjoy!

xSx

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LifeCoachSam Has An Exciting New Vibe.

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It has been a while since I last posted, but now I am back- more refreshed and feeling better than ever! A lot has changed over the past year and I am feeling so inspired to bring you lots of helpful articles, guides and personal stories to continue to motivate you to live a balanced life.  The direction and focus of this website will be changing slightly.  I am feeling more drawn to wellness writing rather than writing only personal development content.  I feel like wellness covers all areas of our lives in the same way that personal development does, however, wellness allows for more freedom and balance.

This past year, a wellness-lifestyle has been my focus and a priority.  Wellness across the board; healthful food, getting back into basketball, taking time out, lots of socialising, massages, meditation classes, learning to say no, learning to stick to my new budget, fitness and adventure.   Wellness is a grounded lifestyle but it also encourages us to continually learn and grow.

To clarify, my definition of 'wellness' is obtaining health and balance across all areas of my life, essentially a lifestyle of maintaining general wellbeing through making healthful choices.

By no means have I been perfect nor totally strict on myself, but each and every week I take the time out for myself and come back to centre.  Whether that be cutting sugar for a week, or committing to increased exercise, or even getting my butt to Sunday morning meditation class, but no matter what, I always come back to honouring my true self.

As I write this blog, I am sitting on my couch still buzzing, yet feeling totally balanced from my first Reiki session.  This is just one of the new things I have fallen in love with over this past year and I will be sure to give you the full low-down on Reiki and, well, pretty much everything else that I have tried, loved, those not-so-loved and everything in between.

Throughout this journey, my intuition has become my greatest tool.  It is a daily compass.  And from this place, I am feeling so inspired and energised to bring you great content on lots of health and wellbeing areas that I have explored, re-discovered and lived this past year.

My desire for this page is to create a community of self-lovers and wellness-junkies.  Our personal wellbeing must be our first priority!  If we are neglecting ourselves, how can we show up fully to this world.  It starts with you and your relationship with yourself, and is maintained by you showing up for your greatest good.  It is not always easy, but it is definitely always worth it.

I am so excited for you all to see what is in store for LifeCoachSam.  So much goodness is coming your way!

xSx

Remember, every smile is contagious- so go spread the good stuff!

Knowing When to Let Go and Why No-one is Doing It

IMG_8699 As humans, we have a hard time letting go. We have been taught that if something didn't work out how we had expected then we have somehow failed or that we have been rejected. We assume that we were the problem or that we did something wrong. We then live in the "what ifs" and we continue to live in a state of "if only".

What we really need to be taught is that you were not being rejected you were being re-directed, and it's a wonderful thing. Society, as a whole, has controlling tendencies, we feel like we can control the outcome of every situation and that it must go our way and if it doesn't then we were hard done by. Doesn't that sound like a restricted life to live? Once we learn to truly let go of our expectations and trust that there is a greater plan for us, then we can start to live a more relaxed life.

To have faith in the unknown can take a bit of guts at first, but it is totally worth it. It can sound a little foreign initially to sit there are say "I know that [insert situation] didn't work out because something better is on the way" but it's true. Life doesn't have to be a struggle. We can choose to acknowledge that something/someone wasn't right for us, let it go and get back to enjoying the beauty of life, or you can sit and question "why?". There is so much happiness in staying calm and knowing that we are deserving of perfect outcomes for us at that time. Sometimes a situation simply provides a life lesson to be learnt. A lesson that will provide the knowledge we need to take forth with us on our life journey. Sometimes the hard decisions have to be made for us. We form emotional attachments to expected outcomes and we have a hard time seeing it play out in any other form.

When you find yourself stuck in the letting go process, try some of these exercise:

1: Sit calmly in a quiet room. Say to yourself (silently or aloud) "I have learnt everything that I needed to learn from this situation/person/event and its time to let it go. I release you and I have faith that something better is on its way.".

2: Talk it out with a trusted friend, but change the objective of the conversation. Talk with them with the aim to release rather than complain. Hear their advice and speak of the journey you will take to move forward.

3: Meditate! If you are new to meditation don't be scared off. All it takes is 5 minutes a day of silently monitoring your breathe to calm your mind and start to see your situation in a more peaceful way.

4: Write a release letter. Write down everything that you would say to a person that has hurt you, write down how you feel, write down how you expected something to go. Release it all, and finish the letter with a plan to move forward, knowing that something better is on its way.

Remember, you are always growing, always evolving and you are going to outgrow things. It is inevitable. You will outgrow people, jobs, homes, cars etc. Be wiling to let things go and embrace the new. This is where the excitement is, new stories, new experiences, new encounters. Be open to new opportunities as you don't yet know what you can discover. But if we stay in our limited thinking with thoughts like "this should have happened" or "if only I did this differently" you will miss all of the new and wonderful experiences you are yet to have had yet. You may be walking down a different path to the one you had expected, but have faith that it is leading to a greater destination.

P.S. Remember every smile is contagious, so go spread the good stuff!