What once was dubbed a crazy, revolutionary healthy phenomenon has become the new café norm. These days you can buy raw, vegan caramel slices, bliss balls, mint slices and chocolate bars at your local caff! Whilst these products are usually refined-sugar free, too often they contain a whole load of dried fruit, loads of nuts and are heavy on the sweeteners.
Let's talk dried fruit. While fruit is great, being a source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and even water, when it's dried, it becomes smaller in size than it's fresher counterparts making it very easy to overdo it. This can lead to gastrointestinal problems, weight gain and quick sugar highs followed by bigger sugar drops. Consuming raw chocolate treats may mean you end up eating a lot more dried fruit with added preservatives and nuts than you usually would in one sitting, resulting in an overconsumption of calories and maybe even leaving your tummy in trouble.
So, I've come up with a delicious raw treat recipe that's so delicious and so tasty that it’s hard to believe that it’s actually good for you!
You know when you get a craving so strong that you literally don’t feel satisfied until you fill it?
That’s me and snickers bars.
If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know I have a little bit (okay, understatement – more like a lot) of a sweet tooth. I loooove anything chocolatey and nut butter-y. And because the blog is all about anti-deprivation, I love creating treat recipes that are healthy and enjoyable, without causing your tummy grief in the process.
My dried fruit-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, keto-friendly and vegan-friendly Snickers Bars are almost too good to be true. Wow that was a mouthful.
Speaking of a mouthful, these treats are absolutely delicious and will send your tastebuds back to the days of enjoying a taste-bud tingling snickers bar.
We’ve got melt-in-your-mouth nougat, chewy peanut-butter caramel all wrapped up in chocolate. I know, I know. Amazing.
So where to start with this healthy treat?
Let's start from the base and work upwards. The nougat base is filled with one of the most delicious, creamy nuts ever – macadamia nuts. Although macadamia nuts are high in healthy fats (and in price), they’re packed full of nutrients and a little goes a long way! Macadamias have shown to improve blood sugar levels, improve bone health because they’re packed full of calcium and magnesium and help support gut health, plus they're blended fine to alleviate any tummy troubles.
I’ve combined these nuts with a blend of delicious ingredients including coconut cream, coconut oil, rice malt syrup, vanilla powder, almond meal, peanuts, a pinch of salt and someLove Your Gut Powder. Did we just make gut-friendly nougat? Oh yes, I believe we did!
Once our nougat’s in order, it’s time to make the caramel....because caramel is delicious and makes everything better. EVERYTHING. I’ve created a peanut-butter, cashew caramel for our centre. I want to speak more about it, but I can’t in case I start dribbling all over my keyboard… oops too late. You’ll just have to trust me on this one… it doesn’t taste as good as it sounds; it actually tastes even better. Speaking of peanuts – did you know they’re actually a legume, not a nut? They’re rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect our cells against oxidative damage.
Once you’ve got our two bases ready, next is to create our own chocolate to dip them into! This is seriously one of the easiest chocolate recipes ever created. All you need is coconut oil, cacao butter and raw cacao powder. Yes, that’s it. This chocolate recipe is full of magnesium and healthy saturated fats, without the refined sugar and dairy. Be sure that the mixture isn’t too hot otherwise it will harden. Think not too hard but not too melted – just in the middle is perfect!
My peanut, chocolatey confection is irresistible. While it takes a little more time to make these than just grabbing a regular Snickers bar from your closest shop, both your tastebuds and your gut will tell you it’s totally worth it! Share with friends and family too.
In a food processor, pulse the macadamias until they resemble fine crumbs. Add in the coconut cream, coconut oil, rice malt syrup and vanilla and pulse until smooth. Add in the almond meal and Love Your Gut Powder and pulse until just combined.
Spread this mixture into the lined tray and sprinkle over peanuts and sea salt. Place in the freezer for two hours to set.
To make the caramel, stir all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Spread mixture over the peanuts and place back into the freezer for another two hours.
Prepare the chocolate coating by melting ingredients together in a small pot over a low heat. Transfer to a bowl, place in the fridge for 15 minutes to let it thicken slightly.
Remove the bars from the freezer and using large knife, cut into 12 bars.
To cover in chocolate coating, first prepare a rack over a tray to catch any dripping chocolate. Carefully dip bars in the chocolate coating mixture and place on the rack. You want to work quickly here to prevent the bars from melting. This is why it’s important your chocolate mixture isn’t too hot but is still melted and has a liquid consistency. You may wish to work in batches.
Place back into the freezer as soon as possible to set the chocolate. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Pharmacy and supermarket shelves are packed with a myriad of herbal remedies for common ailments, especially with winter on its way.
On closer inspection these products are mostly derived from non indigenous plants, which have a long history of medicinal use in Europe.
We need to embrace of NZ native plants.
For instance, Murdoch Riley’s book “Maori Healing and Herbal” has pages of medicinal information, reflecting the depth of Maori knowledge developed over centuries of observation and use.
These plant remedies are still widely used today, by both Maori and pakeha (non Maori) the ritual and spiritual aspects are still relevant in Maori communities.
But we don't use them??? I think knowing about their special properties enriches our experience of native plants, and provides another reason to keep biodiversity in Aotearoa.
Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum, or pepper tree)
Kawakawa is an easily recognized shrub, with aromatic, heart-shaped leaves, that grows widely in coastal regions.
Kawakawa gives us a clue as to why the first arrivals here from Polynesia called it that. The leaves are like its relative, kava (Piper methysticum), used widely in the South Pacific, Kava has a narcotic effect.
Kawakawa leaves are highly valued for relieving bronchial complaints. Boil a handful of the fresh, young leaves in a small saucepan of water for 15-20 minutes, then drink half a cup of the liquid to relieve chesty coughs.
To make a distinguished tea, for use as a general tonic, it’s best to dry the leaves first, then use a small quantity in a teapot. It’s very good for relieving indigestion.
The fruits and leaves were chewed for toothache – swallow the saliva and keep the leaf matter in your mouth for some time. (The active ingredient is myristicin, which is related to eugenol, a dental analgesic)
Kawakawa leaves were commonly used in hot baths for rheumatic and arthritic pains.
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Rhayne products are all Free of Sugar, Gluten, GMO, Dairy, Peanuts and have zero added Colourings or Preservatives.