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Cacao Beans

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I love chocolate.  So does my daughter. Finding foods that our kids will love that will also love them is tough. They are going to come across a whole range of foods in their social lives and we want to equip them to make good choices.

You will have heard that chocolate is very good for you and its health benefits are numerous. This is true but sadly no-one is talking about the milk chocolate, Kit Kats or things we grab on the go from our convenience stores. Raw cacao (in butter, nibs which are the bits of the bean before they are ground and powder form) is where the goodness lies. Cacao is chocolate in its bean form, before it is roasted, extracted and processed then mixed with sugar, milk, preservatives and other fillers and flavours. It contains antioxidants and minerals and its benefits amongst others are;

  • weight loss due to its chromium content which in turn also
  • Regulate blood sugar along with the magnesium content
  • Prevent cavities in your teeth (the caffeine content in cacao contains theobromine which can help kill bacteria in your mouth that causes tooth decay- it is lost in the process to milk chocolate.)
  • Helps alkaline your body (conventional chocolate is acid forming because of its sugar content)
  • Helps detoxification and contains powerful anti-oxidants.
  • Gives a gentle euphoric feeling without the sugar crash afterwards.

It’s what we do to the cacao and add to it that give “chocolate” the opposite list of effects.  Raw Cacao is incredibly bitter to those more used to even dark chocolate so start by replacing milk chocolate with 70% dark chocolate and work your way towards using the raw cacao powder as your hot chocolate.

Eva's Hot Cacao

If you find nibs pair them with a Goji berry or a raisin and you are close to ‘chocolate’ flavour as we know it. Try it yourself and with your kids. 10 tries are enough to convince your taste buds!

Pairing coconut with chocolate is a match made in taste and nutrient heaven- healthy Bounty bars!. Coconuts are anti bacterial, anti microbial, naturally sweet, packed with vitamins, essential fats and amino acids and minerals too. This recipe is a massive favourite in our house- a brilliant way to be able to say yes guilt free and isn’t that what we all want?  I hope it will be in yours too. My friend came up with it so it is named for her!

Other Chocolate Recipes

Beetroot Brownies

Chocolate Truffels

Homemade Raw Twix

Iced Mocha

Chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Chip cookies

This article was written for The Hub

Here’s some good reading;

Coconut Cures- Bruce Fife http://www.amazon.com/Coconut-Cures-Preventing-Treating-Problems/dp/0941599604

http://www.wellnesswa.com.au/2012/11/eat-your-way-to-good-health-raw-cacao-powder-a-deliciously-simple-home-made-chocolate-recipe/

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-numerous-health-benefits-of-coconuts-2.html

http://www.secrets-of-longevity-in-humans.com/raw-cacao-benefits.html

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My daughter and I love to bake together, she loves what we make and I love making the cookies and cupcakes nutritious enough for me to feel happy she’s eating them! To help her adjust with the addition of her little brother it’s something I am trying to keep as consistent mummy and Eva time. Also with visitors coming to meet the little guy i called them best friend cookies.

I am currently baking gluten free as we are a gluten and dairy free family. This is a choice we made as neither dairy nor gluten seems to agree with us and using different flours definitely adds more goodness and for example quinoa flour adds some protein to the mix. Using coconut sugar makes such a difference. Not only is it adding fibre but it has a completely different effect on the body. For one thing, you are satisfied with just the one! I tend to divide the mixture in half, roll them into sausages in cling film, stick one in the freezer, one in the fridge and cut off and bake the number of cookies you need when you need them. Not only does it cut down temptation (ESP when breast feeding!) it means you always get that fresh baked texture, smell and taste of a good gooey chocolate chip cookie.

This is a recipe I have adapted;

100g quinoa flour
50g coconut flour
200g biscuit and baking gluten free flour (red mill)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
320g coconut sugar
30g coconut nectar
225g butter (butter is just the fat there is no lactose or casein in butter)
1 tsp vanilla (1 pod)
3 medium organic eggs
1tsp orange water (optional)
1 bar organic 85% chocolate chopped up
1tsp cinnamon

I recently got a Kenwood Major for my birthday. put the softened butter and coconut sugar and nectar in the bowl and whisk (on 2 for those with a mixer with the balloon whisk.) until creamy. Add the vanilla, orange water and eggs whisk together.

Add the flours salt and baking powder and continue whisking until dough like. Add chocolate and cinnamon and mix till combined. Put in cling as described above and stick into the fridge. Let cool and harden slightly so it can be cut. Or just put a spoonful on a greased baking tray, leaving room between each one. Cook at 200c for 10-15 mins allow to cool on the tray.

Info on coconut sugar: http://www.livestrong.com/article/540370-nutrition-in-coconut-sugar/

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