Make It Monday-Healthy Berry Ripe Slice!

I like to stretch out my birthday. It’s in February, the shortest month of the year, which means it’s very easy to justify taking a birthday month. I also have a lot of different groups of friends and sometimes, it’s just easier to see people in an environment where they all know each other. It means I get to enjoy myself and not worry if my different groups of friends are getting along or not. It’s not really an issue anymore- we’re all adults and well and truly capable of mingling, but it’s just a habit from my teenage days. Either way, a birthday is an excellent excuse to catch up with friends.

I’ve always enjoyed planning parties and such things but now, my focus is on ensuring that everyone is able to have a relaxed, chilled time- including myself. That means less obsessive organisation, less meticulous planning and more time surrounded by people on the day.

As such, I’ve organised a pot luck picnic for my birthday this year, where everyone will be bringing something to share. I’ve decided on a few things I’ll bring to cover the bases but it shouldn’t be as much cooking or stress if I was catering for the whole thing myself- which I like!

One of the things I’ll be taking is a healthy take on a Cherry Ripe- one of my childhood favourites.

Image result for cherry ripe lol

I love the flavours of dark chocolate, coconut and cherries (or berries) and so I decided to combine these in their purest form and what a combination it is! It’s so quick and easy to put together and I highly encourage you give it a try!

I sourced the basic recipe from Frankie’s Feast but adapted it slightly to be even easier and even healthier.

Ingredients

Base Layer

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup cacao
  • 1/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup dates, soaked (if you have time)
  • Unsweetened almond and coconut milk as needed

Berry Layer

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries- I used a mix of cherries, boysenberries and blackberries
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for 6 hours or overnight (I didn’t do this and it turned out fine!)
  • 1/2 cup fresh  coconut
  • Sweetener, to taste (I didn’t need to use any)

Topping

  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbs cacao nibs
  • 1 tbs dried blueberries/goji berries

Method

Process all the base ingredients until well combined. Add some unsweetened almond coconut milk as needed to moisten the base. Press this mixture into a square pan and put in the freezer to chill while you make the next layer.

Process all ingredients for the middle layer until combined. Add chia seeds and pulse once or twice to stir through. Taste and add sweetener of choice if desired.

Pour this over the top of the base layer and sprinkle the toppings over your slice.

Remove from the freezer when firm and slice into desired size. Store in the freezer and serve straight from the fridge!

Enjoy!!

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5 Minute Friday- Slow

If you’re a regular reader, you know the drill. Friday is my day to take 5 minutes to do some free writing based on a prompt provided by the wonderful Kate Motaung and share it with the whole 5 minute Friday community. Today’s prompt is slow.

slow

steps unfurl in front of me
like commas on stuck together pages and line
breaks between

words that make me-

stop.

But I don’t.

And the wave seems to freeze as the sand dune splashes over my half closed eyes and suddenly-

or not-

suddenly the world starts to revolve around the poles again and
lights seem to switch again
and fights seem to spark again
and the tightness of my chest seems to break
again.

and maybe that stuck page I ripped in half in my haste was the paste which held together this life and now, the peace of a slower pace is lost until the next stubborn sheet appears and maybe this time, the paperial defiance will stop me in my tracks-

Make It Monday- Birthday Cake!!

 

cake.jpg

I love birthdays. I love celebrating the coming of a new age and all that brings.

I love the excuse to catch up with old and dear friends, eat yummy food and laugh a lot.

I enjoy reminiscing about past parties, looking back over old photos from birthdays long gone, telling the stories we always tell and adding new ones to the repertoire.

And of course, there’s the cake.

I love trying out new kinds of cakes; interesting flavours, new techniques, creative combinations… healthy at times, decadent at others, delicious- always.

For my birthday this year I slightly adapted a recipe from Eleanor Ozich’s book My Petite Kitchen- one of my absolute favourites.

I used her beautiful Tea Infused Raisin and Hazelnut Cake as a base and only changed a few components to make it entirely sweetened by fruit- no honey or other natural sweeteners added. I also added a light yoghurt glaze which just topped it off perfectly. You can use whatever tea you choose!

Give it a try and let me know what you like!

Tea Infused Fruit and Hazelnut Cake

1 cup mixed dried fruit (I used dates, figs, raisins and apricots)
2-4 tsp of rose tea (use tea of choice- I’ve also used chai and it was equally delicious!)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup EVOO
1 cup hazelnut meal
3 eggs, whisked lightly
½ tsp each of ground nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup rice flour

Place the fruit and tea into a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer until most of the water has evaporated. Leave to cool. (If you would like, you can also add honey here, but I think it’s sweet enough)

Preheat the oven to 160C and spray a cake mould with EVOO.

Combine the hazelnut meal, eggs, spices, bicarb soda and vinegar in a large bowl and sift the flour over. Add the cooled fruit and tea mixture, along with the milk and oil. Mix until well combined.

Pour the batter into the cake could and bake for 40-50 minutes. Leave to cool completely before turning out onto a plate. Top with yoghurt drizzle and fresh figs- if desired.

 Yoghurt Drizzle
½ cup of natural yoghurt
1 tsp of honey (or to taste)
1 tsp of rosewater
sprinkle of cinnamon
Mix together until combined… leave in fridge. Hardest recipe ever.

5 Minute Friday- Weak

If you’re a regular reader, you know the drill. Friday is my day to take 5 minutes to do some free writing based on a prompt provided by the wonderful Kate Motaung and share it with the whole 5 minute Friday community. Today’s prompt is weak.

My hands fly across the knobs and buttons- measuring the exact amount of froth that my customers so love to wipe off their top lip and the rim of their empty cup. My eyes don’t even blink as I manoeuvre around my colleagues- the steady streams of milk, coffee, syrup, chocolate, chai pouring into the waiting cups- regular, keep, keep, tall, extra tall, piccolo, triple sh-

“weak, decaf soy latte with three sugars, thanks”

Everything stops and order #217 gets a duck swimming across their cappuccino instead the intended swan.

Only one person orders that coffee.

The rest of my customers fade into the hustle and hubbub of the morning rush as I stand frozen, milk jug in hand.

He’s back.

Workout Wednesday. One minute wonderland!

Today’s workout sounds a lot quicker and easier than it is.

You have six exercises. There are six rounds. There are 60 seconds in a minute. What do you think the routine is?

Any guesses?

Well, today you’re going to be doing an exercise for a minute, an exercise for 50 seconds, an exercise for 40 seconds, an exercise for 30 seconds, an exercise for 20 seconds and an exercise for 10 seconds before resting for 30 seconds and starting all over again, but chasing yourself.

So, what I mean by that is that the exercise you did for 10 seconds is now the 1 minute exercise, the 1 min is 50 seconds and so on.

You do this 6 times through so that you do every exercise for a minute by the end.

You can pick and choose the exercises but I did:

Ropes
Dips
Pushups
Plank
High Knees
Burpees

It’s a fun, fast, furious workout which can be targeted to suit whatever area of your body you want to work- or if you follow the above structure- the whole body! Give it a whirl… it’s just one minute!

 

Make It Monday- Red is my favourite.

Image result for anti valentines day

I hate Valentines Day. I think it’s a day which is designed to make people wallow in discontent. If you’re already single and unhappy then there’s just a load of reminders about how you’re not in a relationship, if you’re single and happy then it’s almost like you’re being manipulated into being SAD about not having a Valentine, if you’re in a relationship then there will always be a bigger gesture, a better gift, a more “special” moment than the one you received.

Why can’t we all just be happy with what we have? I appreciate the idea of a day to demonstrate the love you have for the special people in your life… but surely you can do that any day of the year?

Whatever. It’s not that important in the grand scheme of things and if the world has a little more love in it than it’s not a bad thing.

Speaking of love, I love the colour red as anyone who has seen my a) wardrobe, b) room and c) hair would know, and as Valentines Day seems to conjure up plenty of red, pink and rose coloured merchandise, I figure it’s as good a day as any to jump on the band wagon and create a beautiful RED dessert for the day of discontent- I mean, love.

It’s a red velvet inspired NO BAKE, VEGAN, SUGAR FREE, OIL FREE, GLUTEN FRIENDLY slice.

It’s easy to whip up and it’s super delicious. You can easily sub things in and out and it’s filled with fruit, veggies, seeds, nuts and spices. You can’t go wrong.

Image result for beetroot love

Healthy Red Velvet Slice

Base:

1 cup of oats (GF is necessary)
1 cup of buckwheat groats
2 tbsp of cacao nibs
2 tbsp of homemade apple sauce
2 tbsp of aquafaba
1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
2 tsp of mixed spice
Splash of vanilla extract

Mix all together (legit that easy!), adjust spices and flavours for taste. Add sweetener of choice if necessary.
Press into a glad wrap lined slice container and place in freezer.

Filling:

2 beetroots
1 cup (roughly) raw coconut flesh
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of  HM apple sauce
1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of buckwheat groats
2 tsp of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together until smooth with some crunchy buckwheat pieces still intact (or all smooth if you want! Your circus, your monkeys!) Add sweetener to taste, if desired.

Spread over base

Topping:

Handful of puffed rice
Handful of goji berries
Raw cashews
Dried cherries or cranberries
1/2 a lemon

Soak cashews in boiling water until ready to blend.
Blend cashews with lemon juice until a smooth paste forms.

Sprinkle puffed rice and goji berries over the filling.
Spread cashew layer over top before sprinkling over the cherries and cranberries.

Pop it in the freezer until ready to serve! Remove 30 mins or so before serving to slice into bite sized fudgy pieces!!

Enjoy!! xx

 

 

 

 

If I were you… Reading and Creating

Howdy, howdy, howdy!

Just a quickie today!

As you begin to consider the first SAC of the year, which for most of you will be the Reading and Creating creative task, it’s important that you know the Key Skills and Knowledge which VCAA wants you to display.

Because this is a SAC and this skill isn’t actually tested in the exam, every school will have a different way of conducting this SAC, however, every school should be basing its teaching and assessing of the text on the same thing; our trusty study design.

Image result for spongebob kissing

This is an excerpt of said document from which I’ve highlighted the crucial bits for this SAC.

On completion of this unit the student should be able to produce an analytical interpretation of a selected text, and a creative response to a different selected text.

To achieve this outcome the student will draw on key knowledge and key skills outlined in Area of Study 1.

Key knowledge

  • an understanding of the world of a text and the explicit and implied values it expresses
  • the ways authors
               – create meaning and build the world of the text
               – respond to different contexts, audiences and purposes
  • the ways in which readers’ interpretations of texts differ and why
  • the features of a range of literary and other written, spoken and multimodal texts
  • the conventions of oral presentations and discussion
  • the features of analytical interpretations of literary and other texts: structure, conventions and language, including relevant metalanguage
  • the features of creative interpretations (written, spoken and multimodal), including structure, conventions and language, and how they create voice and style
  • the conventions of spelling, punctuation and syntax of Standard Australian English.

Key skills

  • explain and analyse
    how the features of a range of texts create meaning and how they influence                     interpretation 
              – the ways readers are invited to respond to texts
  • identify and analyse the explicit and implied ideas and values in texts
  • examine different interpretations of texts and consider how these resonate with or challenge their own interpretations
  • synthesise ideas and interpretations to develop an interpretation of their own
  • apply the conventions of oral presentation in the delivery of spoken texts
  • apply the conventions of discussion
  • use textual evidence appropriately to justify analytical responses
  • plan analytical interpretations of texts
  • develop, test and clarify ideas using discussion and writing
  • plan creative responses to texts by
    – analysing the text, considering opportunities to explore meaning
    – selecting key moments, characters, themes worthy of exploration
    – taking account of the purpose, context, audience in determining the selected content and approach
  • develop and sustain voice and style in creative responses
  • transform and adapt language and literary devices to generate particular responses, with consideration of the original text
  • explain and justify decisions made in the writing process and how these demonstrate understanding of the text
  • draft, review, edit and refine creative and analytical interpretations to texts for expressiveness, accuracy, fluency and coherence, and for stylistic effect
  • apply the conventions of spelling, punctuation and syntax of Standard Australian English accurately and appropriately

So… as you can see… pretty much everything in this list is relevant to you.

Today we’re just going to focus on the 3 key things you must consider before starting to write which covers the following:

  • an understanding of the world of a text and the explicit and implied values it expresses
  • the ways authors
               – create meaning and build the world of the text
               – respond to different contexts, audiences and purposes
  • the ways in which readers’ interpretations of texts differ and why

In this task, I want you to identify the following aspects of your text, whatever it might be:

What are the main themes of the text?
What is the author saying about this theme? What do they want you to think about this theme?
How do you know the author holds this view? What are the 
features of the text which demonstrate this?
How does this relate to the purpose of the author in writing the task?
Do you think your view of the themes are influenced by your own background, knowledge, understanding etc- what aspects influence the way you interpret that theme?

By doing this, you should be able to explicitly detail the authorial intent of the writer. This authorial intent should be reflected in your own work and in your Statement of Intention as it will fulfil the Key Skills of:

plan creative responses to texts by
– analysing the text, considering opportunities to explore meaning
– selecting key moments, characters, themes worthy of exploration
– taking account of the purpose, context, audience in determining the selected content       and approach

Sorry for the quick post! Hope it’s still a useful task for you as you start to tackle this relatively foreign task!

Happy reading!

Amy xx