Hazelnut Crunch Hot Chocolate with Raw Cacao

Hazelnut Crunch Hot Chocolate with Raw Cacao

Hazelnut Crunch Hot Chocolate with Raw Cacao


What do you do with a jar of hazelnut butter – besides eat it straight with a spoon?!

I posed this question to myself, spoon in hand, and the ideas began to race through my mind!

I could whip up hazelnut chocolate chip cookies….or a lush hazelnut chocolate mousse….or maybe a creamy dessert smoothie….or hazelnut nice cream….or a raw cheesecake!!

I paused to look down at my jar of hazelnut butter, and suddenly realised my brainstorming session was going to be a complete waste of time because I’d almost eaten the entire jar!

So I decided the BEST recipe for a jar of hazelnut butter is a simple one. A recipe which doesn’t give you enough time to fall into the same trap I did.

So without further ado, I give you THE most epic, hazelnut hot chocolate! Be warned, this is not your every day hot chocolate…it’s definitely special occasion hot chocolate.

Even though this drink is plant based and low in sugars, iI think we should still think of it as a dessert which is best consumed in moderation (as you would all desserts, right?!).

That said, this hazelnut crunch & raw cacao hot chocolate is essentially a fancied up hot chocolate which you can whip up in mere minutes, and then go as crazy as you like on toppings!! I’ve given a list of topping suggestions below the recipe, but feel free to go as wild as you so wish. Enjoy!


Hazelnut Crunch Hot Chocolate with Raw Cacao


Hazelnut Crunch Hot Chocolate with Raw Cacao

Makes: 1 large mug
Prep time: 10 minutes

250ml plant milk of choice
2 tsp raw cacao powder
1 Tbsp Hazelnut Butter (I used Forty Thieves Hazelnut Crunch)

Optional Extras
Chopped roasted hazelnuts
Chocolate shavings
Extra hazelnut butter
Raw cacao powder

Heat the milk until steaming using either a steam wand, nespresso milk frother or in a pan on the stove.

Place the raw cacao and hazelnut butter into a mug and pour one third of the steaming milk in. Stir well until you have a thick chocolately paste and then add the remaining milk. Taste for flavour and if desired add sweetener of your choice (I don’t use any as think it’s sweet enough!).

Garnish with any of the optional extras if you choose, and serve while hot!


Hazelnut Crunch Hot Chocolate with Raw Cacao

Feijoa & Fennel Green Smoothie

Feijoa & Fennel Green Smoothie

Feijoa & Fennel Green Smoothie


I’m a big green smoothie fan and am always looking for new ways to keep my blends interesting. Lately, I’ve been loving the addition of fennel as it gives them a very mild anise flavour, not to mention a heap of extra fibre!

When feijoa’s came into season it made perfect sense to combine the two, and the resulting smoothie was so delicious it definitely needed it’s own blog post!

For those who haven’t come across a feijoa before (also known as pineapple guava or guavasteen), it has a smooth green skin and is about the size of a kiwi fruit. It has a creamy coloured inside with a similar in texture to a pear, but with jelly bits (sounds weird but it’s the best way to describe them!). Feijoa’s also have a very unique, fragrant flavour, which has been described as a cross between a pineapple and guava.

Fennel on the other hand is quite the opposite. It’s actually a herb, and a member of the carrot family. It has a mild but distinctive licorice flavour and fragrance.

Strangely enough, these two opposite ingredients create the most beautifully fragrant, green smoothie!

Feijoa & Fennel Green Smoothie


Now, if you’re unfortunate to be living in a country that doesn’t have feijoa’s, (and I know that’s most of them as they’re rather unique to New Zealand!), then don’t despair! This green smoothie still works if you leave the feijoa out, or swap it for a little fresh pineapple.

Feijoa’s are a great source of dietary fibre, packed with vitamin C, and are very low in calories. Fennel is also a great source of fibre, potassium and vitamin C, so together these two ingredients are amazing for your digestion, your skin, and reducing inflammation.

If you want to know more about why green smoothies are so good for you, check out this green smoothie post here or the 5 Day Green Smoothie Challenge here!

I hope you enjoy this fragrant green smoothie recipe, and you have any comments, additions or tweaks you’d like to share, or just to tell me whether you liked it or not, leave a comment down below! Enjoy.

Feijoa & Fennel Green Smoothie

Feijoa & Fennel Green Smoothie

Makes: 1 extra large or 2 small smoothies
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 large handful of spinach leaves
1/4 bulb of fennel
1/4 green apple
1/2 lemon
1 large feijoa (or 1 slice of fresh pineapple)
1cm piece fresh ginger
2 Tbsp coconut yoghurt
1/4 cup filtered water
2 ice cubes

Wash the spinach leaves well and leave to drain. Wash the fennel well and chop in half if required. Peel the lemon and apple (if not organic) and place in the blender jug along with the spinach and fennel. Cut the feijoa in half, scoop out the flesh and add to the blender jug. Lastly, wash and peel the ginger (if not organic) and add to the blender along with the yoghurt, water and ice cubes.

Blend on high until all the ingredients are well blended and smooth.

Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy. This smoothie will keep in a sealed jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Feijoa & Fennel Green Smoothie

Red Velvet Latté

Red Velvet Latté

Red Velvet Latte


If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I have a long standing love affair with chai latté’s. This led me to make my own low sugar, spicy chai syrup here. Then after detoxing from sugar, I went one step further and created my own sugar free spice mix, which I can often be seen stashing at our local cafe.

But I have a confession. I’ve been cheating on chai lately with a new love… the red velvet latté.

I can’t get enough of these pretty pink, beetroot based drinks which have been popping up at all the cool café’s the last few months. They range from being sweet and fruity made with beetroot, blueberries and raspberries, to dark and chocolatey with raw cacao.

You can even buy red velvet mix to make your own latté’s at home, which I of course did. But after plowing through one of these particularly delicious (and pricey) mixes in just a few days, I was spurred on to create my own blend.


Red Velvet Latte


“Red velvet” in the foodie world traditionally referred to a type of dark chocolate cake with a hint of red in the crumb. So not surprisingly, the best red velvet latté’s I’ve tasted have also had a raw cacao and beetroot base. The sweetness of the beetroot balances out the bitterness of the raw cacao, creating a rich chocolate drink with a pink hue. So when making up my own blend I used this combination with a little vanilla and cinnamon for extra flavour – and that was it!

I love that this red velvet mix not only tastes delicious, but is also ridiculously good for you too. Beetroot is amazing for detoxification, it contains powerful antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, and is great for boosting energy and stamina. It’s a source of fibre, essential minerals like manganese and potassium, and the B vitamin folate.

Raw cacao is also an amazing source of antioxidants due to it’s high flavonoid content. Flavonoids are plant based compounds that provide immune system support, neutralise free radicals, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol and are anti-inflammatory. Raw cacao is also good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and feel good neurotransmitters.

This red velvet blend can be made into a warm or chilled drink, and can also be a delicious addition to smoothies or baking. I find this blend sweet enough on it’s own, but for a slightly sweeter option simply add a teaspoon of raw honey or rice syrup. Enjoy.



Red Velvet Latte


Red Velvet Blend

Makes: 1 small jar
Prep time: 5 minutes

1 Tbsp beetroot powder
5 Tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Combine all the powders in a small bowl, stir gently to combine then transfer to a clean jar. Store at room temperature.

Red Velvet Latté

Makes: 1 latté
Prep time: 5 minutes

250ml almond milk (or nut/seed milk of choice)
2 tsp red velvet blend
1 tsp raw honey or rice syrup (optional)

Heat the milk on the stove top or in a milk frother until steaming. Place two teaspoons of the red velvet blend into a large cup or mug, add a little warmed milk and mix to a paste. Add the remaining steamed milk and stir to combine, adding sweetener at this point if using. Serve warm with a sprinkle of red velvet blend over top.

Note: to make this latté sugar free choose or make an unsweetened nut or seed milk. My favourite is Pacific Harvest which is also organic and activated.

Iced Red Velvet Drink

Makes: 1 serving
Prep time: 5 minutes

250ml almond milk (or nut/seed milk of choice)
2 tsp red velvet blend
1 tsp raw honey or rice syrup (optional)
1 handful ice

Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until well combined. Pour into a large serving glass and drink.


Red Velvet Latte

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie


When the temperatures start to drop one of the things I struggle with is getting in the green smoothies. I simply don’t feel like a cold, raw, green drink, and especially not first thing in the morning.

One option for getting a daily dose of liquid greens in is of course soup, like this green soup recipe here. However, green soup for breakfast doesn’t have quite the same appeal as a green smoothie, and hot green soup is obviously not raw so it doesn’t quite provide the same benefits.

Naturally this got me thinking. There must be a way to make a green smoothie that’s deliciously warm (say like apple pie), full of protein and healthy plant based fats to keep you going for the morning, and yet still raw so you get all the benefits of the ingredients being in their raw unprocessed state, as you would a cold green smoothie.

Turns out there are two ways to create a warm smoothie and both are equally delicious! The first option I’ve given below involves heating the apple (aka apple pie!), so you’re sacrificing the rawness of the apple, but you get a lovely warm smoothie. The second option keeps all the ingredients raw, and you simply keep blending until the smoothie gently heats from the blender blades.

So what’s the big deal about raw you might ask?

Raw ingredients retain all their nutrients in their original, unprocessed state. All the antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals remain intact, along with the foods inherent living enzymes which are often killed by heat. These living enzymes assist in the absorption of the nutrients which also helps to take some of the load off your digestive system. And by eating raw food in the form of a smoothie, where the blender blades start the digestion process for you, you can maximise your nutrient intake in a very easy way.

It’s entirely up to you which method you choose. I’ve also given the option to use soaked nuts versus raw nut butter. Again soaked nuts are essentially ‘activated’ which is the simple process of soaking them in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins making them more digestible. If you’re short on time I’ve also given the option of using raw nut butter (to keep the smoothie raw), and failing that, standard almond or cashew butter will also work but they’re probably not raw as the nuts have often been lightly roasted in order to grind them easier and for flavour.

This warm apple pie smoothie can either be served straight up, layered with coconut yoghurt, or as a smoothie bowl with it’s lovely thick spoonable texture. As a smoothie bowl you can then swirl in some yoghurt, sprinkle some cinnamon and add whatever nuts or seeds, raw cacao nibs, beetroot powder, raw chocolate, or really anything to your liking! Enjoy!


Do you find it hard to drink green smoothies when it’s cold outside? Do you switch to soups?
Tell me in the comments below!

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie

Servings: 2 (one for breakfast and one for afternoon tea or dessert!)
Prep time: 15 minutes  Soak time: almonds 10-12 hours; cashews 4-6 hours

1 green apple, (peeled if not organic) roughly chopped
4 kales leaves (or 1 large handful baby spinach)
1/4 cucumber (peeled if not organic)
1 whole lemon (peeled if not organic)
1/4 cup raw almonds or cashews (soaked; see times above) OR 2 Tbsp raw almond or cashew butter
250ml coconut water (coAqua has a beautiful sweet flavour)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, softened
2cm piece fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Optional extras:
1/2 avocado -> makes it creamier
1 handful mint -> slight minty flavour
1 handful parsley -> very herby green flavour
2 stalks celery -> slightly sweet but also bitter (best for the hard core green smoothie lovers)

To Serve (optional):
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut yoghurt
Cinnamon to sprinkle

Option 1 (apple warming):
If using whole raw nuts prep ahead by soaking them the day before. Place nuts in a bowl, cover with filtered water and stand at room temperature 4 to 6 hours for cashews and 10 to 12 (i.e. overnight) for almonds. Drain, rinse well, then store in the fridge in a sealed container until needed. Rinse again before using.

To cook the apple, peel, core and cut the apple into small pieces. Place in a small pan with 1/4 cup of water, place the lid on and set over medium high heat. Leave the apple to steam for a couple of minutes and then remove from heat. You don’t need the apple to be fully cooked (although that’s fine too), ideally just enough heat to warm it through as this will provide the warmth for the smoothie.

While the apple is still warm place it and the remaining ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Serve the smoothie straight up in a glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or spoon some coconut yoghurt into the bottom of a glass jar, pour the smoothie on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm.

Option 2 (blender warming):
If using whole raw nuts prep ahead by soaking them the day before. Place nuts in a bowl, cover with filtered water and stand at room temperature 4 to 6 hours for cashews and 10 to 12 (i.e. overnight) for almonds. Drain, rinse well, then store in the fridge in a sealed container until needed. Rinse again before using.

Take all the smoothie ingredients out of the fridge at least half an hour beforehand to allow them to come to room temperature.

Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth. To warm up the smoothie, keep the blender going for up to 5 minutes which should nicely warm the smoothie but still keep it under 46ºC i.e. raw.

Warm Apple Pie Smoothie


Berries and Cream Smoothie

Berries and Cream Smoothie

Berries and Cream Smoothie


Before I introduce this berries and cream smoothie, I want to talk a little bit about why I love smoothies. There’s something about the endless number of combinations that makes them so exciting to me. I’ve highlighted their amazing benefits and what to consider when making them in posts here and here. I’ve also written about the differences between juices and smoothies, and their respective benefits here.

So in this post I’m going to talk about the potential sugar content of smoothies and juices, which is a subject that’s not always that obvious, and can be quite confusing.

So what determines the sugar content in a juice or smoothie? There are two main factors: 1. Whether you’re dealing with a juice or smoothie, and 2. How much fruit it contains.  So lets take a look at the the juice versus smoothie factor first.

A juice is essentially made from whole fruit and vegetables that are pressed through a juicer. The juicer extracts all the liquid nutrients and in the process removes all the fibre. Fibre is what naturally slows down the absorption of any sugars present, so by removing it you’re effectively creating a very easily absorbed juice. This is great if it’s full of nutrients, but not so great if it’s full of fructose which is the main sugar in fruit. Unlike glucose, the body doesn’t produce fructose nor does it use it for energy. Instead fructose is sent to the liver which is the only organ that can metabolise it. If you have a diet with excess amounts of fructose the liver can get overloaded and will start turning fructose into fat, which of course we want to avoid.

Smoothies on the other hand, are a blended mixture of fruit and vegetables, often with added protein powders or seeds and a liquid to keep things moving. They naturally retain all the fibre present in the fruit and vegetables meaning any sugars present are absorbed into the body much more slowly.

Berries and Cream Smoothie


To ensure you’re not accidentally making yourself fructose laden juices and smoothies, follow these tips:

When making a juice, try and limit the fruit content to one piece of low fructose fruit such as a green kiwifruit, green apple or berries, and make the other piece a lemon or lime which are naturally very low in fructose. If you’re feeling brave try using no fruit at all and just a lemon or lime. If you get the recipe right, you’ll be amazed at just how good a juice can taste like this! I’ve posted one of my favourite sugar free, green juice recipes for your reference here.

If you’re making a smoothie, reducing fruit content isn’t such an issue because all the fibre is still present. But if you’re keeping an eye on your sugar intake then it’s still a good idea to make them majority vegetable based with just one or two pieces of fruit.

Just to be crystal clear, I’m not saying don’t eat fruit. Fruit is an amazing source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and live enzymes that help the digestive process. The key is to make sure you’re eating the whole fruit so that you get all these benefits.

If you’re buying smoothies or juices that comes packaged with labels, always check for hidden sugars. The most commonly used are fruit juice concentrate, reconstituted fruit juice, pineapple concentrate, apple juice and grape juice. All these have been refined down to concentrated fructose and contain very little nutrients so are best avoided.

After writing all these points I realised my Inspired Smoothies e-book needed updating to include more low fructose options. So I’ve created a third, low fructose edition. All 12 recipes contain only 1 piece of low fructose fruit such as green apple, kiwi fruit or berries, or no fruit at all. You’ll be amazed by how a little clever ingredient combining can create some delicious smoothies, juices and tonics, that are naturally sweet and very low in sugars.

The recipe below is a preview of one of the prettiest coloured smoothies from the e-book, called berries and cream. It tastes exactly as it sounds, lots of creamy coconut mixed with sweet berries. It has a magical violet colour and best of all it also has hidden stash of greens that you’d never guess were there!

This new edition of Inspired Smoothies includes combinations such as peanut butter and raw cacao, gingerade tonic, jungle greens and pina colada mint quencher, plus a handy hints and tips section including some simple nut milk recipes. To download the entire collection for free, simply click the link below:


Berries and Cream Smoothie


Berries and Cream Smoothie

Makes: 1 large smoothie
Prep time: 10 minutes

1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 handful spinach leaves, washed well
1 cup unsweetened almond or drinking coconut milk
1 Tbsp cashew butter
1 Tbsp coconut yoghurt
1cm piece fresh ginger, grated
pinch vanilla powder

Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high speed until well combined and smooth.

Pour into a serving glass and serve immediately. Alternatively, this smoothie can be stored in a sealed glass bottle in the fridge for up to 2 days.

How To Make A Green Juice Without A Juicer

How To Make A Green Juice Without A Juicer

How to make a green juice without a juicer


 Is it possible to create a green juice without a juicer?

I’m a huge fan of green smoothies and not just because of their amazing health benefits. If you get the blend right (which isn’t that hard once you know the fundamentals) they taste pretty damn amazing too!

I’ve written many a post about the humble green smoothie and all it’s benefits, and this post here sums it up pretty well.

It was therefore only a matter of time before I decided I needed to make green juices a part of my life too. I’ve read so many amazing things about cold pressed raw green juices, most notably from the inspirational Kris Carr who’s the daily green juice queen!

The catch was, I don’t actually own a juicer.

What I do have is a blender, so I thought surely there must be a way to create a green juice with that…?!


The difference between a green smoothie and a juice

In my quest to create a green juice without a juicer, I began by considering the differences between a cold pressed raw juice and a smoothie.

A smoothie is generally a blended mixture of whole fruits and vegetables, with an added liquid to get things blending. It can also contain protein powders, nut butters, yogurt, seeds and other natural whole food flavourings such as ginger, turmeric, vanilla or cinnamon.

A cold pressed raw juice, on the other hand, is simply the liquid nutrients squeezed out of whole fruits and vegetables by a juicing machine. Raw juices don’t contain any extra liquids, added protein or flavourings, with the exception of maybe some ginger or turmeric.


Benefits of a cold pressed juice versus a smoothie

Both juices and smoothies are a great way to consume a much larger amount of raw nutrients than you’d be able to if you ate them in their whole form.

Juices are generally much lighter and easier to digest than smoothies. This is because during the juicing process, a juicer removes all the fibre from the fruits and vegetables, leaving the vitamins and minerals more readily available for absorption.

One thing to keep in mind is because all the fibre is removed in a cold pressed juice, any fruit sugars present will also be more readily absorbed. So if you have a fruit loaded juice, you can end up with some pretty crazy blood sugar spikes. The best way to avoid this is obviously to keep the fruit content low in a cold pressed jucie.

Juices are therefore great if you want a big dose of nutrients that’s light on the digestion. This might be when you’re on a cleanse, have potential gut issues, or are just wanting to boost your nutrient intake but not make a meal out of it.

A smoothie on the other hand, is a great choice if you’re wanting to consume more fibre with your nutrients which is beneficial in keeping your digetsion flowing smoothly. Also, by adding protein to your smoothies they canbe a great light meal replacement.


How to make a green juice without a juicer


What to consider when making a green juice without a juicer

In order to make a green juice in a blender, the green vegetables therefore need to be blendable and you need a way to remove the fibre after blending.

My other challenge was to create a green juice without using any fruit to sweeten it, as I was still in the middle of a sugar cleanse!

I therefore had to consider which green vegetables go well together to create something drinkable and avoid a bitter tasting green dirt juice. I discovered the secret to making this work was cucumber with it’s soft mellow flavour, and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Lemon juice, although acidic to taste, is amazing at keeping the body slightly alkaline which is the ideal state. From there you can’t go wrong with celery, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, silver beet or collard greens, and fresh herbs like parsley which is very cleansing and mint which is delicious and good for digestion. Lastly, a small amount of fresh ginger adds a warm flavour and is also a great digestive aid.


How to create a green juice in a blender

To create a green juice in a blender, place all the ingredients into the blender jug, add just enough water to get things moving and a little ice to ensure the blender blades don’t heat things up. Blend on high until smooth, then pour the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the fibre. And that’s it! You essentially have a rawc green juice, albeit not officially cold pressed.

This is obviously a slightly crude method and juicers will do a much more efficient job, but if you don’t own a juicer yet and are unsure about investing in one, this is a good way to test it out.


When to purchase a juicer

I ended up loving my blender juices so much that I’ve since borrowed my sister’s juicer to see whether I could taste the difference in the juice, and to decide whether I need to purchase one myself.

The main differences I discovered were the juicer creates a much more intense juice as there’s no added water, and secondly, you can juice things in a juicer that would stop a blender in its tracks. The best examples are carrots and beetroot which make great alternative sweeteners to fruit.

One tip I also discovered was when using beetroot to sweeten a green juice, it’s best to put it through last and just give the juice a little swirl to avoid turning your juice into an unappetising brown colour.

Below I’ve shared my two favourite green juice recipes – a blender recipe and a juicer recipe. The original recipes don’t contain any fruit sweetener (except for lemon juice which isn’t very sweet) and taste pretty damn amazing if I say so myself.

If you’re just starting out with green juices and find them on the savoury side, I’ve included the option to add green apple or beetroot (which is my personal favourite, if not just for the crazy colour contrast it creates).

I hope you use these recipes and may they inspire you to incorporate more fresh greens into your day.

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!



How to make a green juice without a juicer


Green Juice (blender recipe)

Makes: 1 juice

1 x 15cm piece cucumber (peeled if not organic)
2 stalks celery
2 handfuls leafy greens such as: curly kale, cavalo nero, spinach, silver beet, collard greens
1 handful fresh herbs such as: mint and parsley
1 x 5cm piece fresh ginger
1 lemon juiced
3/4 cup filtered water
1 handful ice
optional: 1 green apple, core removed

Wash all the ingredients and place in the blender. Blend on medium speed, using the blender stick to get things moving, then high speed until smooth. If it needs more help to get things blending at the beginning, add a little more water. Pour the blended juice through a fine sieve to remove the fibre and serve in a tall glass.

Green Juice (juicer recipe)

Makes: 1 juice

1 x 15cm piece cucumber (peeled if not organic)
2 stalks celery
2 handfuls leafy greens such as: curly kale, cavalo nero, spinach, silver beet, collard greens
1 handful fresh herbs such as: mint and parsley
1 x 5cm piece fresh ginger
1 small lemon (whole)
optional: 1 small beetroot, peeled and/or 1 green apple, core removed

Put all the ingredients through a juicer in the order listed, ensuring you leave the beetroot to last if using. Drink the juice immediately or it can be stored in a sealed glass jar for one day in the fridge before it starts to oxidise and loose its potency.




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