Clean Eating Coconut Flour Chocolate Cake

It's taken me years to figure my way past all the diet and eating fads and over the last while I have settled more into simply cutting out anything processed and eating as clean as possible. It stems from both my belief system and my exhaustion at trying to figure out what's going to make me fat or get me thin. I also give great thanks to my forties, because something really does change and a different type of not caring kicks in.

So now, I eat clean. In my world and terminology, I eat as close to goddess, ancient pagan woman as I possibly can. Nope, I'm not doing paleo and I'm not banting. I'm simply choosing what's been less processed, in a world where everything is processed in some way. I don't cut out anything and I love food and life too much to ever say no to ice cream, a glass of bubbly or a big slice of cake. What I have noticed, is the more I eat clean, the worse reaction I have a sugar binge or nibble at processed food.

I love cooking and am happy to label myself a kitchen witch (because I live for using fresh herbs and believe that cooking with intention and love impacts the people that eat it what I make. Just ask me for my "get well soon" chicken soup and you'll believe me 😉

Baking ... not so much!
My friends and family quiver when I say I'm going to attempt baking anything and I must admit that I was a nervous wreck while baking my sister's birthday cake last night. It was a slight disaster and after learning the importance of baking with wax paper, when you can't smear a baking tray in processed butter, the rest went well.

So here's the recipe for my clean eating coconut flour chocolate cake, with cream cheese and coconut frosting.

IMG_5632Cake Ingredients?(makes two 9 inch cakes)
1 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup pure cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp himalayan or sea salt
9 eggs
3/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 120 deg c
Line the pan with baking paper (I don't use butter or spray and cook and coconut oil is not non stick, so if you are less pedantic you can use that instead of the paper)
I also don't have any fancy mixer and do this all with a whisk, but you can throw it into a mixer.
Whisk the eggs until they are clearly beaten together then add the coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Mix again.
Make sure to sieve the dry ingredients and mix it in slowly. I do half the coconut flour, then the rest and the same for the cocoa.
Mix well and add half the ingredients into the baking pan and bake for 30 mins. Check that it's cooked through, but mine was perfect. If not, leave it for about another 5 mins. Don't cook it more because the coconut can get quite dry.

Frosting ingredients:
1 tub refrigerated cream cheese (some say dairy is not clean eating, but I can't do without my cream cheese and feta, which is the only dairy I eat. If you are eating clean then you can use a tofu based cream cheese)
1/2 tin of refrigerated coconut cream (pour off the water and just use the cream)
2 tbsp honey (you can use maple syrup)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup desicated coconut
1/4 bar of over 70% cocoa chocolate

Instructions:
In a mixer or with a hand blender, mix the cream cheese, coconut cream, honey and vanilla extract. Add coconut and finely grated chocolate and mix gently.
Refrigerate until cake is cool and ready to be iced.

IMG_5637The frosting is quite runny, but it settles and ices beautifully. Shave a little more of the chocolate on top and keep in the fridge until ready to serve!

For alternatives:
Add strong espresso to the cake mix/icing (coffee should not be instant for clean eating)
Add cocoa to the icing for chocolate icing
Soak sliced strawberries for a few hours and add to the icing

If you get any more creative, please let me know 😉

When Dove asked me What's Your #BeautyLegacy?

11071007_10153407581194369_3719838905288498061_nWhen I received the press release and video link to the?"What's your #BeautyLegacy" campaign by Dove, I watched it in awe of the responsibility it takes to be a parent to a young child (I don't believe only girls have self esteem or even beauty issues), but I couldn't relate and set the email aside.

I'm not a mom. I've never wanted to be one. It's one of those unexplained life choice I've given up ?trying to get the world around me to understand. I'm an aunty, but only to a pack of boys, so I get a free ticket on this #BeautyLegacy thing. No?

Of course not!

I don't voice it often, but I have huge issues with the abuse of social media as a soapbox for people's causes, now that it's become an opportunity to grab their moment of limelight. I get asked to be involved in so many, because let's not kid, I have a following and I have a voice that people pay attention to.

It was when I went to the Dove Self Esteem Project website, that I had two realisation.
Everyone behind this project means it. They aren't asking for a Facebook selfie or a silly challenge. They are asking people to get involved, to impact the closest people around them and spread the legacy from there.
Then I saw that they aren't asking just parents and teachers (or the usual, celebrities) to get involved in a vital introduction to the school curriculum ... they are asking mentors too. They have real stories, with real people and I'm a big fan of real!

I have worked for years to be noticed as a mentor. That's the whole essence of Project Me. So I watched the video again ...

I grew up as the ugly duckling in my family. I was even teased about it. I had braces, glasses and was the only sibling of 5 who got acne.
I managed to wangle my way into the cool group at school, but remained the nerd among them. From my childhood I can tell you many stories that left permanent scars on my esteem, with some that still impact my worth today. They definitely impact my relationship issues ... of which there are many. Ask any guy who has tried to love me and they will tell you that I get so easily wounded by any lighthearted, playful comment that may touch the memory of the teasing I went through by the people I expected to love me most.

When I was in primary school, the boys used to rate the girls in a stupid game. They would write down the names, score the girls and then add up the scores. I never got a low score ... because I was never put on the list. I'm nearly 42 years old and I will forever carry that ugly scar.

I'm not ugly! I'm actually damn beautiful!

My weight has been the biggest tell tale sign of my injured esteem, but I have finally settled into loving my sexier, fuller self. I'm sure there are still nasty boys and girls out there who call me fat, but with age, a good dose of therapy and enough "I don't give a shit" affirmations, I really don't care.

What I do care about is me and that's the most gorgeous #BeautyLegacy I can possibly think to pass on to anyone. I literally started caring about me. I went from being a frumpish, overweight, apathetic girl and blossomed into a woman who truly believes that how we treat ourselves is how the world will treat us in return. I paint my nails, style my hair every day, put on body lotion (the Dove kind), I dance around my room when I don't have time to go to gym and smile at myself in the mirror, even on my busiest day.

I have a reputation for being this crazy, busy, business woman ... and I am! What no one realises is that I take time, every single day, for ME! I meant it when I made myself my own project and I think without it I would be a frazzled mess, workaholic, unpretty, bitter and resentful person.

So here is my #BeautyLegacy, as I watch the sunrise and have chosen to take my "me time" to write this blog post ...
We are beautiful from the day we are born. It is irrelevant what the rest of the world defines as beautiful. Beauty starts from deeper than just skin deep. It starts from the simple act of "being nice, being kind". Sadly, that's not the way of the world and everyone is a critic, who believes that the meanest response will gain the most attention ... and that's what we all want ... attention! I'm 41, but I look like I'm in my early 30 and when people ask me why I look so young, I tell them it's because I'm kind and loving and it shows all over. Okay, genes pay a part, but for the most part, just remain the bigger, happier, decent person. This post may not even be read by a young girl or boy out there, but it made me stop and be grateful that I got through my youth with the few scars I did. It worries me that the world has become a meaner place and so I've signed up for the Dove Self Esteem MENTOR role. I have no idea what that means today, but hopefully one day I will be able share my "Project Me" story and show the world that I didn't have to be a mom to touch a child's life!

Screenshot 2015-08-14 07.04.45Now I ask you, What's your #BeautyLegacy?
If you are a blogger, I would love for you to write one and share it with DOVE, using the hashtag.

I do hope you watch the Dove Legacy YouTube video, check out the Self Esteem Project (and sign up) and follow Dove on Twitter and Facebook.

Dear Dove, thanks for choosing me to be a part of your journey. It took me a while to realise my worth, but that's how it goes with self esteem ... whether you're 14 or 42!

Home remedies and heart tonics

It's been a long few weeks. Some of it has been super exciting and then there are the life patches that remind me how tender I can be at times.

I spent last week dealing with a sick cat child, who is such a happy child, that he never gave any indication of not being well. Only once he couldn't keep his food down did we find out that he had a blocked colon. Badly blocked. Oh the Jewish guilt (which is the only Jewishness i seem to have hung onto) and then the drama of staying at the vet and X-rays, procedures, meds and my other two not eating because their brother was missing. What an incredible reminder that they are far more than just pets and they really do have little hearts and souls.

Eragon at home and on the mend.

Eragon at home and on the mend.

We ended up having to change the diet of all of them and I learned how vital it is to feed cats food specific to who they are. It makes perfect sense. It's how we should be eating. So they are all on hairball control food because they're a fluffy bunch of Persian kids.

On top of that, there gets a point in a growing business, where it has to grow. You know, like get a second full time staff member. It may not seem stressful, but it took me ages to adjust to it all, so I've been overworking myself and juggling a few too many balls again. I don't have to boast about my business partner more than I already do, but I haven't said how lucky I am to have My B, who is the #ChatFactory community manager and she's totally rocking it. I was outsourcing some work for a while, but life got in the way again and I've had to carry a bigger load than I should. That's changing though and we're hiring.

To add to all of that, I have a mending heart. For the first time I chose not to put anything on social media or to blog about it, but there was an amazing guy around for nearly 5 months. In a nutshell, our perception of a free spirited relationship and degrees of commitment just couldn't hold us together. So I'm back to being that single girl with three cats and an eternally optimistic outlook on life and love.

Needless to say, when we were graced with a long weekend for Women's Day, I jumped at the opportunity to hibernate. I've been in desperate need of "me" time and I grabbed it over this long weekend. I didn't drive my car or get out of my pyjamas for the whole of Sunday and Monday.

IMG_5226I was completely nurturing and kind to myself. I'm starting to have more faith in the theory that we should be treating ourselves the way we want to be treated, so I cooked delicious meals, spent quite time just lying around and being with me. I thought about what makes me happy, just by being me and I took the time to really enjoy my own company ... my own great, special and loving company.

Admittedly, it only helped heal the heart a little and for the rest, I drank wine (not alone, because my cats count), listened to music and turned love songs into messages from me to me and I lay quietly with myself.

Between waking up to check if my cat child had eaten or used the sand tray and forcing myself not to check my Facebook (or his) at crazy hours, I had to come up with a better sleep idea.

I'm not a tablet taking girl and sadly I only have a shower in my flat, but I do have a garden filled with home remedies.
I drink sage or mint water all day and I literally stroll into the garden and grab a few leaves. I'm a great believer in kicking off my shoes and wiggling my toes in the grass, to settle my being and feel centred again ... and then there's lavender. Wow, that stuff can grow and it's totally under utilised.

IMG_5255So, I picked a whole bunch and found a little gift bag lying around. If you haven't squished lavender in your hands, you really should. There's a natural oil that bursts through and the scent (I know you either love it or hate it) is quite something to absorb.

I still didn't sleep through, because cat child had a hairball to deal with an my panic about him isn't over yet. I got tangled up in the emotions of ignoring Facebook at yet another ridiculous hour, but it was definitely easier to return to calm with a whiff on lavendar and a little help from mother nature's pharmacy.