Chocolate Squares (raw, paleo & vegan!)

BallinaGirl LOVES “chocolate squares”. She requested it as the food she wanted at her party, and loves helping me make them, advising me I had to make them to take to playgroup as our snack to share (no, a piece of fruit was not good enough apparently!).

Raw Paleo Vegan “Chocolate Squares”
1/2 cup of assorted seeds (I used sunflower and chia seeds)
3/4 cup pitted dates (I used dried, so had to add a bit more oil for moisture)
1 tablespoon of raw cacao (or more if you like it really chocolatey)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (as required)

Put the seeds in to a food processor and whizz until coursely ground. Add in dates and whizz again, until dates have broken up and mixture looks a bit like this

Add cacao powder and vanilla and whizz again to mix.

Then add coconut oil in 1/2 tablespoon increments mixing in between, until the mixture starts to stick together and sort of form a ball

Get a long length of cling wrap and put the mixture in to the middle of it. Then fold over the corners to make and allow room for the mixture to be rolled in to a square or rectangle. Grab a roller and roll it flat.

Put it in the fridge or freezer until it becomes firm. Then remove cling wrap and cut in to squares (or whatever shape you want).


And you’re ready to eat! This can melt in heat, so best to keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. In winter months it seems to be fine, as long as it isn’t in direct sun. It goes fine in BallinaGirl’s lunchbox (in an insulated lunch bag).


Chocolate Zucchini Bread (or cake?)

I (attempted to) got my bake on, over the weekend, trying to be prepared and have some healthy treats for everyone’s lunchboxes on Monday morning. The kids had other plans, as BallinaDaddy got called out to an emergency for work. But, I did make one (sort of two) fantastic treat, so great, in fact, that the kids from next door were begging for more (who apparently don’t like cake, don’t like “healthy things”, don’t like vegetables, and didn’t know what a zucchini was)! It also got the daddy approval, which can sometimes be harder to receive.

I was hoping to make a ‘Simple Blueberry Lemon Birthday Cake’, as it made the short list for my birthday cake recipes for my birthday earlier in the week, but had run out of blueberries, and didn’t have enough lemon. So while mum chased up my extra ingredients, I started work on the ‘Moist Chocolate Zucchini Bread’, as chocolate cake always goes down well, and I had a zucchini.

The recipe called for some sunflower butter (aka “sunbutter”), which I had none of, but had a lot of sunflower seeds, so thought I’d give it a crack. I had previously tried to make some, but had no sunflower oil, so used coconut oil, which wasn’t as nice as I had hoped, or as easily spread. So I bought some next shopping trip, and haven’t opened the bottle yet. But, I ended up finding this recipe instead, so tried this, leaving my bottle of sunflower oil, untouched and still unopened. It uses ghee instead, and is delicious! I made it up in my Bellini, and it got the stamp of approval for the kiddliwinks too. (Note that is takes longer than it says it does in the recipe, as you need to whizz it for 16-18mins, stated in the recipe)

Now, the Zucchini Bread was actually a lot more time consuming than I thought it would be. Trying to squeeze out the liquid from the zucchini killed me! Who knew they held so much?! I recommend doing it in smaller batches, as it seemed to take forever doing it in one lot, until I went to smaller amounts. It also took lots of paper towels.

The end result was great though, although sometimes I felt as though it was a bit “peanut buttery”, but then by the second bite it was delicious, so not sure what the go is there. I used cacao, so maybe next time I could add more, or use cocoa, as the recipe states which may make it a little sweeter also.


Healthy Paleo Party, for Kids?!

When my friends have a guest attending their party who has an allergy to dairy or gluten, I’m usually asked for food suggestions. Only upon hearing other people’s suggestions do I realise how much sugar we have cut from our diet.

For BallinaGirl’s party, I tried to keep things to paleo or vegan, as we had guests in attendance who followed these diets. After seeing BallinaGirl’s rise and fall after many sugar loaded party foods, I decided to stay clear of the lollies too.

For her party I served:
– A rainbow fruit platter (previous parties have had them on kebab sticks, but I had other kebab stick related party food too)
– Felafel and hummus
Bananas dressed up as pirates (texta used to draw face with eyepatch, and napkin as a bandana)
– Vegetable sticks and sweet potato dip
– Beetroot, Taro & Sweet Potato Chips
“Chocolate Squares”
Paleo sausages
– Salad
– Rainbow veggie kebabs
Paleo chocolate cupcakes
Paleo vegan cupcakes
– Paleo chocolate brownies (brought by a guest)
– Popcorn (brought by a guest)

The party bags had no lollies either, so no added sugar high for the ride home.

If children are only provided healthy options, they will only be able to choose healthy options. And who can say no to a plate of fruit with the colours of the rainbow?


Green (paleo) Bacon

While doing whole30, I realised I would be without bacon… Until Amy from Fighting Fit Super Centre noticed the “paleo” sticker in the butcher in the Main Street of Alstonville. They soon discovered ‘Green Bacon’, and brought new happiness to all of the whole30ers in our group.


Green Bacon has been cured by the butcher, who is also following a paleo diet, without any of the unwanted stuff. No sugar, no preservatives, and no grains (check your labels! It’s amazing what you can find in bacon!!). They even slice it fresh, when you order it.


This bacon is awesome! A bit fattier than my usual bacon, and it still has the rind on it, but it is oh, so delicious! It crisps up quickly, and brings a party to my taste buds.

It is a little expensive, at $24/kg but, it is well worth it as a little treat for my weekend breakfasts with the family. I’m not sure I would even go back to normal bacon once my whole30 has finished.


If you are interested in getting some Green Bacon, or even checking out some of the other paleo marinated meats they have at Alstonville’s Quality Meats, head to 83 Main St, Alstonville or call them on 0266280825.

Paleo Sausages

I am loving paleo sausages right now. Cherry Street butcher makes two varieties, a thick one with fennel and a thin one with paprika. I could have them mixed up, but whatever flavour the thin one is, it is delicious!


What makes them a “paleo sausage” is that they are made with no grain fillings (meatier!), no sugar and no preservatives. So you need to freeze these bad boys as soon as you get home or cook them quick! Neither are a problem for me, although working out how I should break it up can be. Sometimes the kids eat all of what I have made for me, other times I end up eating the whole lot and have too much!

BallinaGirl and I have been having a few sausages over the past couple of days, especially after I discovered how delicious it was dipped in to a whole30 approved baba ganoush that Amy from Fighting Fit Super Centre had made. Yum!

You can call Cherry Street Butcher to order some, on 02 6686 2610.

P.S. I am doing whole30 at the moment. I’ll have to write up a blog post about it when I’m finished. More info on whole30 can be found here.

Raw Paleo Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

We tried this recipe out at a Mamabake we had the other day. It was a huge success, so much so, there were none left for us to take home.

BallinaGirl, while hesitant to try it (she seems to be going through a everything is “yuck!”, with tongue out or spitting included in the disgust, phase), LOVES them and requested I make some more “balls like we had at that house”. So I decided to make some lunchbox approved ones (i.e. with no nuts). I unfortunately didn’t measure, and just added what I needed as I went. But looks a bit like this:

2 handfuls of sunflower seeds
1 handful dried dates
1 handful fine coconut
1 large carrot, grated
1 clove
Sprinkle of cinnamon (to taste)
Coconut oil (can be left out)
Fine coconut and chia seeds to coat

Whizz the sunflower seeds in a food processor with clove until very fine.
Remove from processor.
Whizz the dates and coconut until fine and sticking together.
Pour sunflower seed mixture back, and cinnamon in and mix.
Add grated carrot and whizz until mixed.
Add coconut oil if required, to help reach desired consistency.
Roll in to balls and then roll through coconut and chia seeds to coat. Throw them in the fridge to firm them up.

I found the mixture to be quite moist, both times I made it, so maybe some more playing with it can help it firm up a little.

They don’t last long though, BallinaGirl keeps sneaking them out of the fridge!


Vegan Paleo Cupcakes

I recently had my daughter’s birthday, and invited all her friends. Some of them are from Paleo inspired cuisine households, and others from Vegan homes. So I figured I best find a cake that everyone can eat, and went on my search.

I found this recipe, from Paleo Baking Company. As I didn’t have the time to ship their products to me, nor buy it in Australia (that I could find), I decided to try to recreate this, using items I had in my pantry.

I halved the recipe, as I was trying to test out what worked, and didn’t want to waste much if it turned out horrible. So after a few attempts, this is what I made for the party:

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Cupcakes
Makes 6-7 cupcakes/muffins
1 Banana (very ripe)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2/3 cup Hazelnut Meal (I did it on scales as I was using my thermomixing machine, weighing 68g)
1/3 or 3/8 cup coconut flour (as above, weighing 54g)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp of cacao (could have added more though, I did over a tablespoon on previous attempts)

Purée bananas in food processor. Add in coconut oil and honey, and mix. Add in all other dry ingredients and mix again, until well combined.
Spoon in to tins and bake at 175 degrees Celsius until golden, and a toothpick comes out clean (roughly 15-25 mins depending on oven, plus I am useless at timing). Cool in tray for 10mins, then pop out on to cooling rack to cool further.
muffins straight out of the oven, with no cacaoMuffins straight out of the oven, without the added cacao

–EDIT: the original recipe doesn’t add cacao to make it chocolatey. I forgot to add the cacao in the last batch. And I’ve had a huge thumbs up from BallinaDad, even without icing. It almost tastes like banana bread with Nutella, without the spread feeling.. It is pretty delicious, and I think could almost use less honey.. Almost 😉 —

I also made this delicious Paleo Chocolate Cupcake recipe for her birthday and her party. The icing was a bit melty the first time I made it, as I was in a hurry. The second time, I whipped it with an electric hand-beater as it was a bit hard to do by hand manually. This actually worked perfectly, and I actually got a really good whipped result. I put it in the fridge at the place we held the party, as I was scared it would melt. I think this was a bad decision as the icing was rock hard, and the ones I didn’t refrigerate and left out for the rest of the day once we were home never melted and were delicious!


I also had a wonderful cake the following day at another party, with pink icing. Was so good, wish I had found the recipe before ours, as that is what Ballina Girl wanted for her birthday. Will have to get the recipe again, but from memory it included Coconut concentrate, honey, strawberries and a little Beetroot juice to make it pink. Mmm! Was really good with the chocolate cake!