WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Christmas

Holiday Season Bliss Balls

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Seasonal, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegandanielle coppermanComment

I’m stocking my freezer with these so that I’ll have something to constantly (and instantly) satisfier the snacker in me during the holidays. Of course I’m human and a live with an ethos that balance is crucial and that the less healthy foods have a place in this world too, but this January I’m heading to New York for the first time in a couple of years to launch the US edition of my book, Well Being, and to meet with new modelling agencies. So, this year I’m generally steering away from outrageously unhealthy indulgences since I need to be in the best shape of my life to meet with agencies. Thus, these babies are my answer to everything. When someone offers me a cookie, mince pie, chocolate or all of the above, I’ll be blissfully chomping down on these little mouthfuls like a proper weirdo. But, to me, it’s not going to be difficult to resist what everyone else is enjoying, since I genuinely prefer the taste of these to most processed treats which these days taste too artificial and sickeningly sweet. And these are still indulgent in their own ways. They’re high in calories and pretty sweet themselves, but its just that they’re all natural and offer actual nutritional benefits, unlike most of the other holiday treats out there. I can eat these knowing I won’t have to expect a bout of blemishes on my skin, extreme bloating, a sugar rush and a sugar crash, or a headache and general grogginess. That said, I will not say no dessert.

It took me 20 minutes to make 2 full batches of these last night, and they turned out much cheaper than shop bought health food products. I couldn’t recommend the best flavour, they’re all amazing. Enjoy!

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Gingerbread bites

Components

150g cashews
50g oats (ideally gluten-free)
225g dates (ideally medjool)
2-3 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Pinch of salt

Method

Start by blending the cashews, oats and protein powder (if using) in a food processor until they form a light, flour-like consistency. Next, add the dates, ginger, coconut oil and salt, and blend again on a high speed. The mixture should begin to crumble and then clump together, and eventually (after around 1-2 minutes) it should form into a smooth, sticky, dough-like ball. Keep blending until this happens, and if it doesn’t become sticky or doughy, add a few more dates and continue to blend.

Once smooth and sticky, use your hands to form the mixture into bite-sized balls, or, as per the images below, flatten them into little cookie shapes.

Place in the fridge to stiffen, or place in the freezer if you prefer them a little harder. I would suggest storing them in your fridge if you prefer them softer, or in your freezer if you prefer them stiffer and to save them from expiring (they can stay in the freezer for as long as they last).

Enjoy!

Walnut Brownie Bites

50g cashews
100g walnuts
50g oats (ideally gluten free)
225g dates (ideally medjool)
1 teaspoon vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon coconut oil
4 heaped teaspoons cacao powder
Pinch of salt

+ A handful chopped walnuts, for extra crunch (optional)

Method

Start by blending the cashews, walnuts, oats, cacao and vanilla protein powder (if using) in a food processor until they form a light, flour-like consistency. Next, add the dates, coconut oil and salt and blend again on a high speed. The mixture should begin to crumble and then clump together, and eventually (after around 1-2 minutes) it should form into a smooth, sticky, dough-like ball. Keep blending until this happens, and if it doesn’t become sticky or doughy, add a few more dates and continue to blend.

Once smooth and sticky, use your hands to form the mixture into bite-sized balls, or, as per the images above, flatten them into little cookie shapes. If you want to add a little crunch, use your hands to roll some extra chopped walnuts and extra salt, if desired, into each bite-size.

Place in the fridge to stiffen, or place in the freezer if you prefer them a little harder. I would suggest storing them in your fridge if you prefer them softer, or in your freezer if you prefer them stiffer and to save them from expiring (they can stay in the freezer for as long as they last).

Enjoy!

Vanilla Chai Bites

150g cashews
50g oats (ideally gluten free)
225g dates (ideally medjool)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground cloves or mixed spice - optional
1 teaspoon vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Pinch of salt

Method

Start by blending the cashews, oats and protein powder (if using) in a food processor until they form a light, flour-like consistency. Next, add the dates, coconut oil, salt ,cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and any other spices you’re using, and blend again on a high speed. The mixture should begin to crumble and then clump together, and eventually (after around 1-2 minutes) it should form into a smooth, sticky, dough-like ball. Keep blending until this happens, and if it doesn’t become sticky or doughy, add a few more dates and continue to blend.

Once smooth and sticky, use your hands to form the mixture into bite-sized balls, or, as per the images below, flatten them into little cookie shapes.

Place in the fridge to stiffen, or place in the freezer if you prefer them a little harder. I would suggest storing them in your fridge if you prefer them softer, or in your freezer if you prefer them stiffer and to save them from expiring (they can stay in the freezer for as long as they last).

Enjoy!

Updated Mince Pies

Autumn, Recipe, Sweets + Desserts, Vegetarian, Winterdanielle coppermanComment
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For someone who doesn't usually like mince pies, I ended up eating 3 of these for breakfast the day after I made them. The pastry - which is free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars, and made from all-natural, nourishing ingredients - is the perfect texture; not too crumbly; not too sweet; just doughy enough; and with the perfect amount of crunch. The filling - which is also free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars, and made from all-natural, nourishing ingredients - is also much more flavoursome and juicy than other shop-bought mince pies i've tried. I add superfoods such as blueberries and goji berries to mine, which bring a unique flavour and also additional nutrients. The apricots and dates add a really rich flavour, and mean you don’t need to add extra sugar or sweetener to the filling mixture. Combined with the natural citrus juices and spices, it’s an unbeatable combination.

Granted, its easier and often more appealing to buy mince pies from the shops, and these do take a little time and effort to make, but isn't that what Christmas is all about? Taking time, taking care and enjoying the process of each stage of preparation. It's tradition, after all! But, hey, I hear ya. Theres always enough to do, so to avoid having too much on your plate (so to speak), I'd suggest preparing these a few days (or weeks - as they freeze well) before the festivities begin, to reduce stress and take the pressure off. I'd also suggest getting children involved too, as they will love getting creative and helping.

Components

Makes 12

For the Crust

250g Buckwheat Flour
50g Ground Almonds
4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, room temperature
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
5-6Tablespoons Honey, Date Syrup, Maple Syrup or other natural sweetener of choice
1 Egg

For the Filling

4 dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, paste or powder
6 dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 medium apple, chopped
100g blueberries
30g goji berries (optional)
The juice of half a fresh orange (and zest, if desired)
1 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon grated fresh or ground ginger
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
60ml water
1 teaspoon maca or ginseng (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 160c.

Grease a muffin tin with a light coating of coconut oil.

For the crust, place all of the ingredients -but only half of the flour - into a food processor. Blend to combine, until the ingredients form a crumb-like texture then transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining flour and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Add a little more flour if the mixture seems too sticky, and add a little more syrup if it seems too dry.

Knead the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it is about 3mm thick (I do this in 2 stages, using half of the dough at a time). As you roll, gently apply pressing, pressing down onto the dough as you roll it. This ill help to ensure the dough stays together and compact and doesn’t crumble or separate.

Next, use a round cookie cutter to cut out individual crusts, and use a thin spatula to lift the dough discs if they stick to the surface. Lay each circle into each section of the greased muffin tin. Leave the leftover dough for the lids.

Bake for 8 minutes until the crusts begin to brown, but aren’t cooked through. Whilst they cook, prepare the filling.

For the filling, simply place all of the ingredients apart from the chia seeds into a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to a gently boil, stirring constantly. As the blueberries soften, burst them with the back of a wooden spoon and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the fruit (particularly the apple) has completely softened. Add the chia seeds just before you take the mixture off of the heat. Leave the mixture to cool slightly and allow a few minutes for the chia seeds to swell and absorb some of the flavour.

Take about a tablespoon of the mixtures and fill each pre-baked crust.

Roll out the remainder of your dough and use either the same round cookie cutter or a more fun, festive one (like a star, a Christmas tree or holly leaves). Take each shape and arrange it on top of the mince mixture. If using another circle, I like to seal them by pressing a fork around the edges to connect them to the crusts. But if using a shape, you can just rest it on top of the fruit mixture.

* At this stage, you can use 1 egg, whisked, to brush on the pie tops. This gives them a more glossy finish.

Return to the oven and bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until the pastry turns a golden brown.

To serve, dust with buckwheat flour or desiccated coconut (or icing sugar if you prefer a sweeter option), and serve with coconut cream, runny almond cream and with an extra dollop of the fruit filling if you had some left over.

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Gift guide for conscious consumers

Style, Natural Living, Lifestyle, Home + Interiors, Essentialsdanielle coppermanComment

Gifts are always nice, but they're even nicer if they have the ability to do good for more than the person receiving them. Below is a selection of items that I've enjoyed either physically, through windows or during a session of screen scrolling. Some make great gifts, some make the perfect stocking fillers and others wouldn't hurt as a little present / Holiday season outfit for yourself.

Some of these products are ethically and sustainably made (in ingredients, materials and methods) and some share proceeds with charities, whilst others are just nice but not especially impactful. Some come from brands which have regenerative and environmental concerns at heart, and some come from small start-up brands, whilst others come from much larger organisations (boo, but, 21st century living). Whilst I try to shop sustainably most of the time, the selection can sometimes be limited and, therefore, I do find purpose and pleasure in less ethical brands and products from time to time. Hashtag balance.