Peanut butter bliss balls

peanut-butter-bliss-ballsI’ve been craving peanut butter lately so decided to experiment with peanut butter bliss balls.

I’ve tried lots of recipes but most contained shredded coconut which i didn’t find worked particularly well with peanut butter.

I’ve landed on this recipe which tastes AMAZING and is super simple – containing just four key ingredients and optionally some good quality dark chocolate.

Health benefits

Dates are rich in a range of minerals and vitamins including iron which is lacked by so many women, especially pregnant women. They’re a good source of magnesium which is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, assisting with arthritis and is also beneficial for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  

Dates contain high levels of soluble fibre which helps food pass through the digestive tract and as such they’re often prescribed for those suffering from constipation.

Cashews are rich in monounsaturated fats which are said to be good for the cardiovascular system and may be particularly beneficial for diabetics. They are extremely high in copper which plays an important role in many physiological processes within the body including iron utilisation, production of melanin and development of bone and connective tissues. They’re

a good source of phosphorous, manganese and magnesium which balances calcium and is essential for healthy bones, nerves and muscles.

Peanuts are actually a legume rather than a nut and are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and oleic acid, a healthy fat also found in olive oil. Peanuts are a good source of antioxidants, minerals copper, manganese, niacin and folate as well as vitamin E and protein.


  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons good quality peanut butter (or even 4 if you love peanut butter)
  • 8 medjool dates, stones removed
  • Half a teaspoon good quality salt
  • Optional (if you like chocolate chips): 20g high cocoa content dark chocolate (i choose 70 or 85%).


  1. Place the cashews, dates, peanut butter and salt in a food processor and blend until the ingredients are well mixed but there are still small course chunks of nuts
  2. If you’d like chocolate chips, chop the chocolate into small chunks to make chocolate chips
  3. Add the peanut butter mixture and chocolate to a bowl
  4. Roll into 8-10 bliss balls

Makes 8-10 bliss balls that will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Healthy chocolate orange truffles

img_8948These truffles are my favourite sweet treat of the moment. Dipped in dark chocolate they have a bitter-sweet taste that satisfies my sweet cravings without wanting me to go back for second and third helpings.

Health benefits

Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats which when consumed in their natural form have been associated with lowering the risk of heart disease. They are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium and antioxidants and their consumption has been credited for helping the body lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and protect against diabetes.

Dates are a high in fibre and are a good source of a variety of minerals. They are often recommended for those suffering from constipation and their nicotine content is thought to help alleviate a variety of intestinal disorders. While naturally high in sugar, consuming together with almonds and chia seeds (as in this recipe) means that their effect on raising blood sugar after consumption is mitigated.

Chia seeds are considered by many as a superfood thanks to their high Omega-3 fatty acid content which is important for heart health and brain function. They are extremely high in fibre, calcium, antioxidants and trace minerals are a great non-animal source of protein. In fact their high antioxidant content is thought to help the body absorb the antioxidants from chia seeds.

Cacao is one of the most nutrient dense natural foods on the planet with 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries. Cacao is one of highest sources of iron in the plant world and is rich in magnesium and calcium and many other trace minerals. Regular consumption of cacao is thought to help reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Oranges are famously high in vitamin C and a study by US and Canadian researchers published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found evidence to suggest that the consumption of orange peel was as effective at helping lower bad cholesterol as many cholesterol lowering drugs.


  • 200g/7oz medjool dates, pitted
  • 100g/3.5oz almonds (I use activated almonds, dry roasted are good too but if not you can use raw almonds)
  • 100g/3.5oz dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (I choose 85% but 70% works too)
  • 45g/1.6oz shredded coconut
  • 4 tbs orange juice (freshly juiced)
  • 3 tbs finely grated orange peel
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tbs cacao powder


  1. Combine the chia seeds and orange juice and allow to stand for 10 minutes
  2. Place a glass bowl over a pot of hot water (but not boiling) and break the dark chocolate into it and leave until it has melted
  3. Add the almonds to a food processor and blend until coarse. Remove 1.5 tablespoons and set aside
  4. Add the dates, cacao, shredded coconut, orange peel and chia mixture to the food processor (along with the almonds) and blend until smooth
  5. Roll the mixture into ~20 balls
  6. Using a fork, roll and coat the balls in the dark chocolate
  7. Place the balls on a sheet of grease-proof paper and sprinkle with the coarsely ground almonds that you’ve set aside
  8. Cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

Makes ~20 truffles. Will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Almost paleo banana berry bread

almost-paleo-banana-berry-bread2I’m pregnant at the moment and have been craving banana bread. In an effort to come up with a recipe that’s tasty AND nutritious I’ve been experimenting with different ingredients and have landed on the following which I find works well. It’s gluten, dairy and refined sugar free so great for those with food intolerances.

Health benefits

I use a good portion of freshly ground linseeds/flax seeds which are extremely high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (higher than any other plant-based food) and are excellent for cardiovascular health. Linseeds are rich in lignans which are fibre-like compounds that have been credited for helping reduce the risk of cancer, in particular breast cancer. Linseeds are also considered to be particularly beneficial for the digestive tract thanks to their mucilage (gum) content.

In place of gluten-free flour I’ve used amaranth which is an ancient Aztec seed with similar properties to quinoa. Amaranth is relatively high in protein and contains the amino acid lysine rendering it’s protein a “whole protein” which is particularly beneficial for vegetarians. The peptides in amaranth contain anti-inflammatory properties which are thought to help those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and stroke. Amaranth contains rutin which has been linked to strengthening capillary walls and helping to protect against varicose veins.

For a great flavour boost I use almond meal. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants and have been proven to help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

In place of butter I’ve used coconut oil which is nature’s richest source of saturated fat. Contrary to conventional medical advice, the saturated fat in coconut oil is thought to help the body lower bad cholesterol and increase the levels of healthy cholesterol and therefore promote cardiovascular health.

Bananas are a good source of potassium which helps the body maintain normal blood pressure and berries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants.


  • 2-3 ripe bananas (if they’re small I’ll use 3, if they’re large I’ll use 2)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 70g/half a cup of ground linseeds/flaxseeds*
  • 70g/half a cup of amaranth flour
  • 60g/half a cup of almond meal
  • 30g/quarter of a cup of tapioca flour/starch
  • 125ml/half a cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 80ml/one third cup sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, dark agave)
  • 100g/1 cup mixed berries (I use frozen berries if fresh aren’t in season)
  • 1 teaspoon good quality baking soda (choose aluminium free)

*I like to grind the linseeds/flaxeeds myself (I use a coffee/spice grinder) to ensure that they are fresh as their fats oxidise over time.


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Grease your baking tin
  3. Add the ground linseeds/flaxseeds, amaranth, tapioca and baking soda to a mixing bowl
  4. In a food processor (you can use a blender if you don’t have one) mix the eggs, sweetener and ripe bananas and coconut oil for a minute or so until smooth and fluffy
  5. Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture and mix well
  6. Fold in the berries
  7. Add to the tin and bake for 40 minutes. Insert a skewer, if it comes out clean remove from the oven. If not allow to cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
  8. Once removed from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool


Gluten free dark chocolate walnut brownies

I’ve been playing around with gluten free chocolate brownie recipes that are naturally low in sugar. I’ve tested this recipe out on a few groups of friends and it’s a winner amongst those that like a bitter, dark chocolate taste without the sugar hit.

The rich dark chocolate flavour comes from raw cacao – a nutrient dense food that is extremely high in antioxidants. Antioxidants play an important role in helping the body fight damage from free radicals. Chemical reactions caused by free radicals occur naturally in the body, however when our bodies are put under excessive stress from free radicals (caused by things such as pollution, toxic chemical, smoking, and stress) it can lead to health problems and chronic illnesses. Raw cacao contains more than 300 different chemical compounds, on average four times the antioxidant properties of ordinary dark chocolate and 20 times more antioxidants than blueberries (some source claim that this figure is more like 40 times). It is rich in iron, magnesium and calcium and stimulates mood enhancing chemicals in the brain.

Modern science suggests that organic, grass fed butter is not the evil it’s been demonised to be over the past few decades. It is a good source of vitamins A, E and K2 – which is fairly rare in the modern diet and plays an important role in assisting the body absorb calcium. Consuming fat from butter is much preferable than consuming margarine which is a highly synthetic food, made from low grade refined oils.

Walnuts pack a powerful nutritional punch. They are extremely rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, a good source of vitamin E and are said to support cardiovascular health, fight cancer and promote overall well being.


I tend not to consume refined sugars so my palette has adjusted to prefer recipes that are not overly sweet. However, if you’re making these brownies for a more mainstream palette, simply add a little extra maple syrup or your chosen sweetener.

  • 150g / 5.5oz butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 70g / 2.5 oz raw cacao
  • 165ml /5.5 fl oz coconut milk
  • 60g / 2 oz coconut flour
  • 80ml /2.7 fl oz maple syrup (for a sweeter palette, add extra maple syrup  ~110 ml / 3.75 fl oz). You can substitute for coconut nectar and could also try honey if you prefer. If using rice malt syrup you’ll need to add extra since it’s not as sweet.
  • 100g /3.5 oz walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons water


  1. Grease a small tray suitable for brownies (I don’t have one so use a mini lasagne dish)
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Melt the butter then add the cacao, coconut flour, maple syrup (or chosen sweetener), coconut milk and water
  4. Beat in the eggs
  5. Add the chopped walnuts
  6. Transfer mixture to baking tray and cook for 25 minutes. Insert a skewer to make sure the mixture is cooked (it should exit without being covered in gooey chocolate mixture). If not cook for an extra 3 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool then cut into squares and transfer to a wire cooling rack until you’re ready to eat

Makes 12 brownies.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or for a decadent treat serve with some fresh mascarpone.

Paleo honey nut bars

These paleo honey nut bars make a delicious sweet treat that the whole family will love. They’re loaded with nutrition, provide a good source of protein for vegans and vegetarians and are a great way to incorporate a variety of nuts and seeds into the diets of children and teenagers. Scroll down to read more about the health benefits of the various ingredients.


  • 2 cups nuts – I use 1 x cup raw/activated almonds, half a cup of raw cashews and half a cup of raw/activated walnuts but you can use whatever you have available or like best
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • Half a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Quarter of a cup of honey/1 third of rice malt syrup if vegan (noting that honey tastes best in this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil/butter plus a little extra for greasing (or other oil of your choice, noting that coconut oil or butter work best)

Optional additions:

  • 2 dates, finely chopped OR
  • 12 dried sour cherries, cut into quarters OR
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried fruit of your choice OR
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line an oven proof baking tin (i don’t have one at the moment so use a small lasagne dish) with greaseproof paper and grease the paper with a little coconut oil (or any other oil will work)
  3. Roughly chop the nuts or place in a food processor with the shredded coconut and blend for around 10 seconds, ensuring that the nuts retain a nice chunky consistency
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add the sesame and pumpkin seeds plus the dried fruit/cacao nibs if including them
  5. Place the honey/rice malt syrup and coconut oil/butter (or other oil if you’re using something different) in a small saucepan and heat over a very low heat until mixed and runny
  6. Pour the sweet mixture over the nut and seed mixture and stir through well
  7. Transfer to the oven proof baking dish that you prepared earlier
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes
  10. Transfer to the fridge and allow to cool for at least half an hour before slicing

Serves 12-18

I make 18 small honey nut bars from this recipe but you could opt for a smaller number of larger bars

Health benefits

Almonds are a superfood in themselves. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, regular consumption of almonds helps the body fight heart disease. They’re rich in monounsaturated fats which have been credited in numerous studies for helping reduce the risk of heart disease and have been linked to helping the body fight LDL (bad) cholesterol. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, particularly when consumed whole (with the brown coating in tact). They’re also a good source of magnesium and potassium.

Like almonds, walnuts are a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, however they are higher in Omega 3 essential fatty acids. A single serve (30g or a quarter cup) contains 113% of the recommended daily intake of Omega 3. Much research into walnuts has been around they’re positive effect on the body’s cardiovascular system – like almonds they’re also more nutritious when eaten with their skins in tact.

Sesame seeds and cashews are both excellent sources of copper, which the body uses to fight free radicals. Copper has been credited for reducing some of the pain and symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Pumpkin seeds/pepitas are high in minerals, particularly manganese, phosphorous and copper and zinc.

While I try very hard to limit the amount of sugar in my diet, I use raw honey in this recipe as it adds a wonderful flavour and helps bind everything together. Honey has antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant qualities, and the consumption of raw honey made locally is said to help those suffering from seasonal allergies, due to repeated exposure of local pollens.

Apricot coconut delight balls


Bliss balls are my go-to when I need a sweet treat.

Blending the dried fruit with twice the quantity of nuts reduces the concentration of sugar and lowers the glycemic index meaning that the sugar is more slowly absorbed by the body.

Dried apricots are rich in potassium which helps the body maintain healthy blood pressure. They are also high in beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A – a powerful antioxidant that regenerates cells and supports eye health. Almonds and cashews are rich in vitamins and minerals, and provide a good plant-based source of protein.


  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 50g shredded coconut
  • 50ml coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut for rolling


Add the nuts, dried apricots, shredded coconut and coconut milk/cream to a food processor and blend until all ingredients are well mixed but the nuts remain in small chunks resembling large breadcrumbs.

Remove the mixture and roll in the desiccated coconut creating balls – around 12 to 15 depending on how big you like them.

Protein Injection

To inject some extra protein, simply add a couple of tablespoons of your favourite vanilla protein powder plus a little extra coconut milk/cream when making the mixture.


Velvety smooth raw chocolate

I’ve been making a very basic raw chocolate with coconut oil for a while now. I find it cures my craving for chocolate and its bitter flavour means I don’t go crazy on the stuff.

Recently however I’ve developed a thing for Pana chocolate. It’s hand made, tastes delicious and is velvety smooth. I’ve been experimenting with recipes to see if I could make something similar and I think I’ve landed pretty close.



I was hoping I could get the flavour right with rice malt syrup (I use Pure Harvest organic rice malt syrup which is made from brown rice, is fructose free and low in glucose and maltose). According to Sarah Wilson in her book I Quit Sugar for Life, rice malt syrup is a “relatively slow-releasing sweetener so it doesn’t dump on the liver as much as pure glucose does.”

It worked out ok in this recipe (I happily ate a whole batch) but the texture of the chocolate wasn’t quite as velvety smooth as I was looking for.


Next I tried making a batch with some honey made right here in Bondi by a good friend. The flavour was delicious but I found that the honey didn’t mix through evenly meaning that when I poured the chocolate into the moulds there was a disproportionate amount of honey concentrated in a few squares which rendered them sickly sweet. Also, I found I could taste the flavour of the honey in the chocolate which whilst good was not what I was looking for.


Maple syrup worked quite well – thanks to its runny texture it mixed through the chocolate really well and the flavour was good too.


Coconut nectar was the clear winner. Although not as runny as maple syrup it mixed through the chocolate really well and imparted a delicious smooth flavour. The first time I added 2 tablespoons but this was a little sweet for my liking so the second time I used 1.5 tablespoons and that worked better for me – particularly because I added small pieces of dried sour cherries as filling which lent extra sweetness.


I didn’t try agave but because this is runny it should also work well. I can see that Pana Chocolate uses agave in some of their varieties.


  • 50g/1.75oz cocoa butter
  • 30g/1oz good quality cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut nectar, maple syrup or agave (see notes above, alternatively you can use honey. If using rice malt syrup you’ll probably need to add extra as it’s not as sweet as coconut nectar, maple syrup or agave)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of good quality cinnamon powder
  • 2 drops natural vanilla essence
  • pinch of good quality salt (I use Himalayan crystal)


  • Around 7 dried sour cherries, cut into small pieces OR
  • Around 6-8 activated or roasted almonds, finely chopped OR
  • 1 medjool date cut into small pieces OR
  • Any other filling of your choice

Note: you will need chocolate moulds for this recipe. If you don’t have them, try my basic raw chocolate recipe.


If you’re using a filling, make sure whatever you’re using is cut into very small pieces and sprinkle throughout the chocolate mould(s).

Place the cocoa butter in a glass or heat-proof bowl and place the bowl over a pot of hot water on a very gentle heat and allow to melt slowly. Separately, melt the coconut oil the same way until it’s runny but not overly hot.

Once both the cocoa butter and coconut oil are melted, mix them together then add the coconut nectar (or other sweetener) and vanilla essence and mix through well.

Sift in the cocoa powder and cinnamon into the wet mixture and mix through well again.

Pour the mixture into the chocolate moulds then place in the fridge. Allow to set for 15-30 minutes.


Makes approximately 150g or 5.25 oz of raw chocolate (including filling). Will keep in the fridge for at least 6 weeks.



Salted Caramel Bliss Balls

I have a thing for salted caramel, which is typically something you’d avoid on a detox.

However, I was recently at the Healthy Living store in Bondi and had a delicious paleo salted caramel cookie so decided to experiment with bliss balls.

I’ve landed on 2 different recipes and really can’t decide which one I like the taste of best so am putting them both on this page. Option 2 is particularly good as the sweet taste of the dates is balanced with the bitterness from the tiny pieces of dark chocolate plus a hint of salt. However Option 1 is so simple and easy (and equally delicious) that I’ll definitely be making those over and over too.

Option 1


  • 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews
  • 5 medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon good quality natural vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup of desiccated coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon of good quality salt such as Himalayan


  1. Remove the pits from the dates
  2. Place the cashews, dates, vanilla essence and salt in a food processor
  3. Blend until mixed but not completely smooth – you want nice little chunks of cashews to remain
  4. Form into small balls and roll in the coconut

Makes around 10 small bliss balls

Option 2


  • Half  a cup of unsalted macadamias (raw, roasted or activated all work well)*
  • Half a cup of raw, unsalted cashews*
  • 6 dates
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (hulled or unhulled)
  • 1 teaspoon good quality natural vanilla essence
  • ¼ cup of desiccated coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon of good quality salt such as Himalayan
  • 20g of good quality dark chocolate (I make my own or use a store bought variety that is very high in cocoa – ideally 85%, and low in sugar)

*If you prefer you can use either a whole cup of macadamias OR a whole cup of cashews


  1. Remove the pits from the dates
  2. If using chocolate, chop into small pieces – around quarter of the size of a standard chocolate chip
  3. Place the nuts, dates, tahini, vanilla essence and salt in a food processor
  4. Blend until mixed but not completely smooth – you want nice little chunks of the nuts to remain
  5. If using chocolate, mix this through the bliss ball mixture by hand
  6. Form into small balls and roll in the coconut

Makes around 12 bliss balls.

Both should be stored in the fridge and will keep for several weeks.


Basic raw chocolate


For the first 35 years of my life, I was completely addicted to chocolate – the commercial kind made with lots of sugar and preservatives. I’d often skip meals after sugar binges and end the day feeling like crap.

After doing a sugar elimination diet (Sarah Wilson would be proud!), I managed to kick the habit and now I much prefer the intense, bitter taste of raw chocolate.

This raw chocolate recipe is super quick and easy to make and can be customised with your favourite fillings. It’s made with coconut oil which is considerably less expensive than cacao butter (and much simpler to work with).

A couple of caveats: the chocolate needs to be kept in the fridge at all times and it’s definitely an acquired taste. If you’re not familiar with the flavour of raw chocolate make a small amount to test first as it’s not for everyone. Having said this, I find it delicious – particularly with the addition of nuts and or dried fruit.


  •  1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup cacao powder (sifted)
  • 2 tablespoons of rice malt syrup/coconut nectar or other sweetener of your choice (I’ve tried stevia but don’t love it in this recipe. If you’re a fan, start by adding the equivalent of a teaspoon and increase according to your taste)

Fillings ideas

  • 3-4 Medjool dates – finely choppped
  • Appox 30g or 1oz of nuts of your choice (almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts and pecans all work well) – finely chopped
  • ~1 teaspoon of peppermint/orange oil (add gradually until you reach your desired flavour – you may like to add more or less)
  • Appox 30g or 1oz dried cranberries/apricots – finely chopped


On a low heat, melt the coconut oil until dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and sift in the cacao powder then add your chosen sweetener and mix through well. Follow by adding your chosen fillings (I particularly like 3 chopped medjool dates and a palmful of almonds, finely chopped).

Place in moulds if you have them or simply spread onto greaseproof paper and place in the fridge. Once set, remove and slice then return to the fridge or freezer (the chocolate is deliciously crunchy from the freezer).

Makes about 90g raw chocolate excluding whatever fillings you add.


Healthy cranberry and chocolate mud slice


This is an easy recipe that makes a muddy chocolate dessert treat. I soak the oats overnight as the process neutralises their high phytate content, improving digestibility (for further information refer to the Dr Weston Price Foundation). Soaking the oats works really well in this recipe as it lends to the muddy texture.

If you’re short of time or don’t subscribe to soaking grains, you can skip this process. However if you do, be sure to add a tablespoon of boiling water at the final stage of mixing the ingredients in the food processor to ensure the muddy consistency.


  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup whole oats
  • 1 tablespoon rolled rye flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/3 of cup cacao


Soak the oats in plenty of water, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of rolled rye flakes if you have them available. Leave to soak overnight, ideally for between 12-24 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.

In a food processor, blend the nuts until they’re the texture of breadcrumbs.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth (as mentioned earlier, if you’re not using soaked oats add in a tablespoon of boiling water at this stage).

Place in a small, greaseproof paper lined container in the fridge and leave for at least 15 minutes to set (ideally around half an hour).

Cut into around 12 small slices and enjoy with a cup of tea or served with fresh berries and coconut cream.


These slices need to be kept in the fridge and served chilled, making them most suitable as a dessert rather than a sweet treat. They will keep in the fridge for several days.