Grain free, refined sugar free and vegan carrot, orange and ginger cookies with crunchy buckwheat and cacao bits! These cookies. They're addictive. I'm warning you now. But they're also ridiculously good for you, so it's all fine. In fact, I wouldn't judge you if you ate them for breakfast… I might just join you. But aside from that, they're the perfect mid-afternoon snack to tide you over til dinner, the perfect I-need-a-treat-with-my-cup-of-tea snack, the perfect damn-it-it's-only-11:30am-and-I'm-ready-for-lunch snack, or the perfect middle-of-your-shift-at-work snack when you just need SOMETHING to nibble on (which is how these came about…). There are so many wonderful flavours in these cookies - a little bit nutty from the buckwheat, a little bite from the freshly grated ginger, fruity-sweetness from the orange zest and juice, little bites of deep, earthy chocolate from the raw cacao, plus they're a little bit carrot cake-y! They kind of taste like a muesli cookie except minus the muesli… Does that make sense? Just try them, you'll understand.




Ingredients (note: unfortunately I'm a very erratic experimental baker and don't measure my ingredients perfectly, so use your discretion to decide whether to add more or less of anything… eek)

1 and a 1/4 of a cup of buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
A teeny pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup of raw buckwheat groats
1/2 cup of cacao nibs
1 tablespoon of coconut sugar (this is totally optional, depending on how sweet you like your cookies!)
1 grated carrot (about a cup's worth)

1/4 cup of maple syrup/agave syrup/honey if you're not strict vegan
1 tablespoon of soft coconut oil
Juice of half an orange (just eat the other half, nom)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease a tray (I use coconut oil to do this) and/or line with baking paper.

Mix the buckwheat flour, salt, baking powder, optional coconut sugar, buckwheat groats and cacao nibs all together in a bowl. Add the carrot and mix.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup/honey/agave, and orange juice, then add the grated ginger and cinnamon. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Here, I actually added an extra tablespoon or so of buckwheat flour because I thought the mixture was little too wet, but judge it for yourself. The mixture should still be reasonably wet and sticky!

Dollop tablespoons of the mixture onto the tray, shape them a little if you wish, and then pop them into the oven for 15 minutes! Devour, and try not to burn your fingers when they're fresh out of the oven and you juST CAN'T HELp yourself.






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During summer, I crave nothing more than fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast. Aside from being a completely delicious and refreshing brekky option, they're incredibly versatile and they pack a serious nutrition punch. I'm constantly playing around with my smoothie ingredients - so many different fruits, different combinations of fruit, coconut water or almond milk, different powders, greens or no greens… I could go on. But I won't. Instead I'll leave you with this morning's creation, which turned out deliciously caramel-like and super-satisfying.

You'll need:

3 frozen bananas
1 mango

Blend these two up together, so they're nice and creamy (it may be tempting to just eat it all like this… I won't blame you)

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp mesquite powder
1 tblsp chia seeds
Coconut water/almond milk/water (entirely up to you, all are delicious)

Add all these tasty, super body-lovin' ingredients and blend it up. Add as much liquid as you want, until you reach your desired consistency - if I'm having a smoothie bowl, I'll use less liquid so it's nice and thick, but otherwise I probably add a cup or so of liquid.

I topped my smoothie with some raw buckwheat groats, which added a tasty crunch, but the possibilities of toppings are also endless (coconut flakes, more chia seeds, berries, cacao nibs… Get experimental!)

Sip away!

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Grain free, refined sugar free, wholesome banana peanut butter bars with cacao chips, walnuts and buckwheat. Phew. Was that a mouthful, or what? A delicious mouthful. These babies are the perfect energy-packed, goodness-filled, tasty snack for busy mornings, hectic afternoons, as a little something to tide you over until dinner, or for dessert! I basically threw whatever I had in the pantry that I thought would be delicious into these bars, so a few of the ingredients are optional add-ins. And if you have other ingredients on hand that you think would go nicely, feel free to play around!

The buckwheat groats, cacao nibs, and nuts make for a delicious balance of textures, and the banana flavour is subtle but, paired with the peanut butter, perfect. Every ingredient is nutritious, and the bars are protein-packed with healthy fats (coconut! Nuts! Buckwheat!) AND lovely carbs (bananas!), so they're basically a square meal, amiright…?

I'm sure any other flour would work just as well but remember that coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture, so if using another flour, make sure you reduce the amount of water you add. You could also use a different sweetener instead of coconut sugar if you don't have any on hand!

Ingredients:

¾ cup raw buckwheat groats
¾ cup coconut flour
½ cup coconut sugar
½ cup cacao nibs (optional, but delicious)
½ cup of walnuts (optional, or any other nut!)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp of baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup of water (more or less, as required)
1 Tblsp of soft coconut oil
2-3 mashed bananas (I used three smallish ones)
½ cup all-natural peanut butter
1 Tblsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract


Mix the coconut flour & sugar, salt, baking powder together, before adding the buckwheat groats, cacao nibs and walnuts and mixing it all up. Add eggs and stir through well. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, add the peanut butter, honey, vanilla, and coconut oil (you're allowed to eat a spoonful of this fab mixture… Or two… I won't can't judge).
Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture, stir together well. Add the water so that you have a lovely dough that sticks together well.

Pop into a lined and greased tray, push down so it’s all nice and flat. Bake for 25 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius, leave to cool, cut into squares/rectangles/however you fancy, and nosh!

These actually taste even better the day after as the peanut and banana flavours mature, so if you have the patience/restraint, save a few for that reason… If not, I certainly won't hold it against you.








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From India, we headed down to Sri Lanka, flying into Colombo where I met with my parents and two siblings. Michelle and Charlie left us here to begin their own adventures, and after one night at the beautiful Galle Face Hotel in Colombo (a must-stay, simply to sip a gin and tonic as you watch the sun go down over the Indian Ocean!) we made our way to the town of Anuradhapura. Here we explored the ancient Buddhist ruins, dagobas (or stupas), and saw the Bodhi Tree and its surrounding temple.

We made our way to Sigiriya, where we climbed the famous rock fortress. Dating from the 3rd to the 5th century, this elaborate fortress palace was built into the rock at the top of a mountain, and still has beautiful rock fresco paintings which are marvellously in tact. We also went on a fabulous, although very wet and rainy, elephant safari and saw many, many elephants in the wild. What was probably the most poignant happening of all, however, was the night we were invited to have dinner at the little mud hut of a local family, who made us the most amazing traditional Sri Lankan meal on their clay stove (complete with eating with our hands!) and sang us Sri Lankan songs.

Our next stop was Kandy, where we visited the Sacred Temple of the Tooth, and then on up into the mountains and tea country, where we stayed in Nuwara Eliya. Here we drank lots of delicious ceylon tea, and did a magnificent 9km walk (for which we had to wake up at 5am for!) in Horton Plains National Park to World's End - a breathtaking look-out across the mountains and valleys and forest. Our next stop was Udawalawe, and here we went on another elephant safari where we got ridiculously close to some very noisy young elephants!

Our final stop was Hikkaduwa, a famously hippy beach town along the east coast of Sri Lanka. Here we spent four wonderful days relaxing, seeing wild sea turtles, swimming, surfing and snorkelling. We also made the journey to the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa's house, which I fell in love with (and which I haven't included photos from in this post as I'm planning on doing a separate post for it). From Hikkaduwa, we made our way back up to Colombo where we departed for home.

Here are some of the photos I took on my iPhone 4s of the wonderful Sri Lanka.


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