Coconut Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries and Pecans

My love affair with the little goji berry is still going strong I adore their sweet/salty flavour and vibrant colour. I eat gojis every day, sprinkled on my porridge, muesli, yoghurts and chocolate chia puddings. And, as you may have seen already, they’re my favourite ingredient to add to home-made chocolates.

Goji Berries

And did you know, goji berries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet? They are a complete protein, contain 11 essential vitamins, 22 trace minerals, and are packed with antioxidants, including flavonoids, polyphenols, carotenoids and vitamins C, E and A. They contain more vitamin C than oranges, more betacarotene than carrots and more iron than spinach. No wonder the goji berry is referred to as the ‘fruit of longevity and well-being‘!

Of course, in the East, they’ve known about the health benefits of goji berries for thousands of years. We’ve been a bit slower to catch on in the West, but we’re finally getting there 😉

Recently, nu3 invited me to take part in blogger challenge to create a recipe using their goji berries. Of course, I was more than happy to accept! I started to think of all kinds of weird and wonderful creations, but M suggested that I should keep it simple and rather than creating something new, I should share one of our family favourites.

And heeding his advice, this is what I’ve chosen to do. My entry for the Nu3 challenge is a simple home-made chocolate bark. M and Lil’ L mentioned to me the other day that this could actually be their favourite chocolate ever! Now that is a statement!

Coconut Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries and Pecans

I make this chocolate using virgin coconut oil (instead of cocoa butter), which gives it a gentle hint of coconut flavour and a glorious ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ sensation. It also features two of my favourite ingredients – goji berries and pecans – which add extra dimensions of flavour, texture and nutrients.

Pecans

This chocolate is incredibly easy to make. No expertise required! You simply melt the coconut oil, stir in the remaining ingredients, and pour them into a container. I line the container with cling film, which makes it really easy to lift out. Sometimes I toast the pecans prior to chopping them but this isn’t an essential step.

Coconut Chocolate Bar Making

The chocolate is then placed in the freezer until set and voila, you have your own scrumptious chocolate bark And you can feel very proud that you made it yourself, from scratch 😀

Coconut Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries and Pecans

It is up to you how you choose to break up the chocolate. You can either go for the rustic look and chop it into shards, or go for more uniform squares.

Store and serve the chocolates straight from the fridge and freezer, as coconut oil goes soft and melty at room temperature. In an airtight container, they will keep for weeks, but I somehow doubt they’ll last that long 😉

Products used in this recipe
nu3 goji berries
– Essential Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – I bought this from Harvest in Bath, but it’s also available in other health food shops and online stores, including Amazon
Sweet Freedom Original, available from Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons, Ocado and online stores, including Amazon
Kenwood Mini Chopper, purchased from Amazon 

[This recipe has been entered into Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend]

Coconut Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries and Pecans

Good luck to all the bloggers entering the nu3 challenge. I’m sure there will be many beautiful and inspiring entries

I think nu3 are planning to invite the public to vote on the entries and a prize will be awarded to the entry with the most votes. As soon as I have the details, I’ll post a link.

Have a great weekend everyone!  xx

UPDATE: Thank you so much to everyone that voted for me in the nu3 Blogger Challenge I am so thrilled to have won! 😀

 

Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts & A Raw Chocolate Making Kit GIVEAWAY!

With just four weeks until Christmas, I’m starting to think of gift ideas for friends and family. One gift that’s always popular is a box of home-made raw chocolates.  Dark chocolate lovers go crazy for them (and that includes a few kids I know 😉 )

What I love about these chocolates is that they not only taste amazing, but they’re incredibly healthy! They’re brimming with ‘feel good’ nutrients and antioxidants (see this post for more details). They’re also dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free, making them suitable for those with allergies/intolerances as well as diabetics.

I love giving gifts that people are going to enjoy AND that will nourish them

Raw Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making lots of batches of raw chocolates, some for gifts and some to replenish our home stash. These are the chocolates that we’ll be savouring whilst we gorge ourselves on festive films during the holidays 😉

As I make them, I’d love to share a few recipes with you.  If you haven’t tried making chocolates before, you should give it a go! I promise it’s very easy!

First up, I’d like to share my Raw Chocolate Goji Almonds Hearts. Whilst you can make these hearts 100% chocolate, I like to fill mine with fragments of goji berry and almonds, for added texture, flavour and nutrients.

Raw Chocolate Goji Almond Heart

I’ve updated my original recipe and measured out the ingredients in cups to make the recipe more accessible to my overseas friends

If you’d like to see some step-by-step pics of how to make these hearts, check out this post. It’s very old, and the pics are poor quality, but you’ll get the idea.

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend)

GIVEAWAY TIME!

It was Elements for Life that first ignited my passion for raw chocolate. This month marks their 3rd anniversary and, as part of their celebrations, they have very generously offered to give away three of their new-look Raw Chocolate Making Kits to my lovely blog readers

Raw Chocolate Making Kit

They’ve recently re-vamped their chocolate making kit and it’s looking very smart indeed! It’s smaller in size, with all the goodies neatly arranged in two tiers. All the packaging is environmentally friendly too, including the cellophane bags which are made from wood pulp!

If you’re interested in trying raw chocolate-making, then these kits are perfect for you. They contain everything needed to get you started including:

100g Ecuadorian Raw Cacao Powder
120g Ecuadorian Raw Cacao Butter
100ml Sweet Freedom, Natural Fruit Syrup
Reusable Silicone Chocolate Mould
Product info and recipes

Elements for Life Raw Chocolate Making Kit

To be in with a chance of winning one of the kits, leave me a comment answering the question featured in the Rafflecopter below. Do make sure you tick the box in the Rafflecopter to register that you have done so!  If you’re new to Rafflecopter, it’s pretty easy! You simply ‘log in’ by clicking the ‘Use Your Email’ button and entering a name and email address (which won’t be published anywhere) or you can log in via the Facebook button. A quick demo of how to use Rafflecopter can be accessed via this link.

There are a number of additional ways you can enter in order to increase your chances of winning. You will find these listed in the Rafflecopter. All entries will be verified prior to the winner being selected.

The giveaway is open to all UK residents, aged 18 and over (so sorry international readers but we’re restricted by postage costs!)

The closing date is Monday 9th December 2013 at midnight GMT.

Good luck everyone! xx

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link – if you click on the link and purchase something I will receive a small percentage which will go towards the development of Bit of the Good Stuff. Thanks in advance!

 

 

Pink Himalayan Salt & Cacao Nib GIVEAWAY & Recipe for Mocha Frappuccinos (Dairy-free, Sugar-free)

Today, I’m very excited to launch a fantastic giveaway! My good friends over at Elements for Life have given me ten of their Pink Himalayan Salt and Cacao Nib Grinders to give away to you, my lovely readers 😀

It makes me so happy when I get to give away products that I love myself. This blogging gig has some seriously great perks! 😀

The Pink Himalayan Salt is sourced from the foothills of the Himalayas, where it was deposited by primal seas millions of years ago. It is totally pure and packed with trace minerals. I use the salt to season savoury meals and to add a touch of saltiness to my raw chocolate barks.

Himalayan Pink Salt

The cacao nibs are sourced from Peruvian cacao beans. Once the beans have been dried, they are crushed and the papery skins removed, leaving the cacao nibs. Since they aren’t roasted, the cacao nibs retain all the goodness found in cacao beans.  They contain a serious amount of nutrients, including lots of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.  To find out more about their nutrient content, check out my ‘Wonders of Raw Chocolate‘ post.

Cacao Nibs

I like to sprinkle cacao nibs on my porridge,  banana pancakes, chocolate ‘cashew’ cheese cakes, yoghurts, parfaits, chocolate energy milkshakes, chocolate banana icecream and mocha coffees.  If you like very dark chocolate, you’ll love cacao nibs!

Another great feature of this giveaway is that the two products come packaged in their own glass bottles with plastic grinder tops, which have two settings – coarse and fine. I’ve never had a manual grinder that’s had adjustable settings so I’m loving this feature. It saves me having to get out my electric grinder when I want fine nibs for sprinkling on drinks.

Grinder Lid 500

In addition to my Coffee Frappuccinos, another drink I’m loving at the moment is home-made Mocha Frappuccinos / Frappés.  The coffee shop versions are way too sugary for my liking. They seriously make me nauseous and the feeling lasts for hours 🙁 Instead, I much prefer my home-made version. It’s very simple to make and you can adjust the sweetness to suit your individual tastes. As an added bonus, they’re far cheaper to make yourself. ‘M’ loves them too!

Mocha Frappuccino Dairy Free Sugar Free copy

For a Mocha Frappuccino, I simply use my Coffee Frappuccino recipe and add a tablespoon of cacao powder per person.  While the recipe will work fine with regular cocoa powder, I prefer to use raw cacao powder as I find the taste superior, plus it adds more lovely nutrients 🙂

Just in case you’d like to try it too, here’s how I make it:

Dairy Free Sugar Free Mocha Frappuccino copy

 

GIVEAWAY TIME! NOW CLOSED!

Elements for Life are selling these refillable grinders for £2.75 and £2.95, which I think is a great price considering that they come pre-filled with 100g of the Pink Himalayan salt and cacao nibs, respectively.

However, five of my lucky readers are going to bag themselves one each of the grinders for FREE! 

There are three ways to enter the giveaway:

  1. Leave me a comment below. Anything will do, but I’d love to find out a bit more about you! Are you already a fan of Pink Himalayan salt or cacao nibs, or have you yet to try them? Have you tried any new drinks lately that you’re loving?
  2. Share this giveaway on Facebook by clicking on the ‘Like’ button at the bottom of this post, then leave me a comment below to let me know you have done so.
  3. Share this giveaway on Twitter with something like “I’ve entered the @GoodStuffSharon @MakeRawChoc Pink Himalayan Salt & Cacao Nib Giveaway”, then leave me a comment below to let me know you have done so.

If you enter all three ways, you’ll triple your chances of winning.

Sorry international readers but this giveaway has to be UK only due to the postage costs.

The closing date is Thursday 1st August 2013 at midnight GMT. After this date, 5 lucky winners will be chosen at random.

Good luck everyone! xx

Birthday Celebrations & a Chocolate and Lime Vegan “Cheesecake”

This week it was my birthday.  I never imagined that birthdays would be as much fun at the ripe old age I am now, but how wrong I was.  I actually think this was my best birthday yet! I had a fantastic day, made all the better by the fact that M was able to take the day off work 😀

During the day, we managed to fit in lots of my favourite activities (as you’ll see, eating crops up a lot 😉 )  We started off with one of my favourite bike rides, along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Limpley Stoke where we stopped at the Angel Fish Cafe for a toasted tea bun and cup of coffee.  We then continued through Monkton Coombe, the Two Tunnels, Bear Flat, Widcome and into the centre of Bath.

Me on my Birthday 2013

Along the way, we saw lots of wildlife, including this very cute baby rabbit

Baby Rabbit

For lunch, we went to one of my favourite restaurants in Bath – Thai Basil on Walcot Street – where I had a Thai red vegetable curry.  It was creamy and full of delicious fragrant flavours.  This has got to be one of my favourite curries ever!

Thai Basil - Thai Red Curry

After school, we went to the cinema with Lil’ L to see Epic.  On the way, we stopped off at Hotel Chocolat to buy some vegan chocolate (I can highly recommend the Gianduja Bombe Selector – it’s totally lush!)

Epic the Movie 2013

[Source]

For dinner, we went to another one of my favourite restaurants, the Nepalese Yak Yeti Yak, where we had the delicious Dal Bhat Tarkari (vegetarian/vegan set menu).

Yak Yeti Yak - Vegetarian Platter

Even though I was full up, I couldn’t leave without having the Kir dessert.  This is one of my favourite desserts ever.  It’s a creamed coconut rice pudding lightly spiced with cardamom. I’m going to have to try at make this at home one day. It’s so yummy!

For my birthday cake, I chose to make one of my all-time favourites – Chocolate and Lime Vegan “Cheesecake”.  I much prefer these ‘no bake’ cheese cakes to any kind of baked cake, plus they’re almost impossible to fail at.  You simply throw the ingredients in the food processor, whizz it together then freeze!

Raw / No Bake Chocolate and Lime Cashew "Cheese" Cake

Here’s how I made it…

Note: Almonds and cashews tend to be much cheaper in Asian supermarkets or in the World Aisle of large supermarkets.  For this dessert, I used Aasani almonds and cashews, which are available from the larger UK Tesco stores.

 

We finally got round to eating a slice of birthday cake yesterday and it was absolutely gorgeous!  All three of us loved it and, even though Lil’ L went back for seconds, there’s still plenty in the freezer to share with friends and family (if they’re lucky 😉 )

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! xx

What would be your ultimate birthday cake?

Do you still enjoy your birthdays as much as when you were a kid? (or even enjoy them more, like me!)

 

Valentines Raw Chocolate Giveaway!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and all the desserts and treats in my house have gone heart shaped ♥  

Last week I was making Raw Chocolate Pecan Brownie Hearts and Raw Chocolate Cream Hearts (now safely hidden away in the freezer)…

… and today I made a batch of Heart-shaped Raw Chocolates 🙂

Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts 2 - 500

I LOVE making my own chocolates.  They’re something extremely therapeutic about the whole chocolate making process. These chocolate hearts really are filled with love

They’re also filled with goji berries and almond pieces 😉

Chocolate Heart Cut Open - 500

Yes friends, we have another delicious, nutrient-packed, delicious treat for our loved ones this Valentines 🙂

As an added bonus, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free and free from refined sugar, which means that they’re suitable for any loved ones with intolerances to wheat, gluten, dairy or sugar.

Do you fancy having a try at making some yourself?  I promise you it’s really easy!  If I can do it, you certainly can!  You can find the step-by-step instructions of how I make the chocolates here.

But, guess what?  I didn’t make the batch of chocolates today for me or my boys.  No, my lovely readers, I made these chocolates to give away to YOU!

Chocolate Hearts with Heart Box - 500

To be in with a chance of winning them, all you need to do is leave me a comment below (any comment will do!)

The giveaway is international, but only suitable for readers living in cooler climates (the chocolates won’t be able to cope with heat… if you live in a tropical country, the postman would likely end up with a package of liquid chocolate in his bag and that could prove messy!)

The giveaway will be open until midnight GMT on Valentine’s Day (Thursday 14th February 2013).

Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts 1 - 500

Good luck everyone! xx

 

Chocolate Valentines Treats

I can’t believe it’s February already!  This  means that in just two weeks’ time it’s Valentine’s Day .  I love this day because it gives us a great excuse to indulge our loved ones with some delicious chocolatey treats.  This year, I thought I would make my Valentines treats in advance so that I could share the recipes with you and demonstrate how easy they are to make 🙂

The chocolate goodies I have for you today are dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free.  They taste decadent yet they’re healthy. What better way to treat those we love?

Home-made desserts and treats tend to taste way nicer than the shop bought, mass manufactured varieties, and all that thought and effort that you put into making a home-made Valentines gift is bound to win you some brownie points with your loved ones.  And talking of brownies…

How about making some Chocolate Pecan Brownie Hearts?

Raw No Bake Chocolate Pecan Brownie Heart - 500

These raw / no bake brownies have a beautiful, sophisticated taste, which makes them perfect for our grown up loved ones.

And making them could not be easier!

Another of my favourite raw / no bake chocolate treats is the Chocolate Cashew “Cheese” Cake.  This is a delicious, dairy-free alternative to the traditional cheese cake.  It also happens to be one of Lil’ L’s favourite desserts so I’ve made two hearts this year…

One topped with red currants and raspberries glazed in natural syrup for M…

Raw No Bake Chocolate Cashew Cream Cake with Berries - 500 1

And a heart topped with grated chocolate for Lil’ L 🙂

Raw No Bake Chocolate Cashew Cream Cake - 500 2

These treats are incredibly simple to make, yet look very professional indeed.  I’m sure they’ll be a huge hit with your loved ones, whatever their age!

Here’s how to make them:

I always buy the Asian branded raw cashews and almonds from the World Food aisles as they tend to be way cheaper than the nuts you find in the home baking section. If you click on the ingredient links above you’ll be able to compare the prices.

I know that some of you are going to be way too busy to make home-made treats so, if you find you’re struggling for time, you can always cheat and buy online instead! You can check out this valentine’s offers shelf for inspiration on chocolates, candles, wine and champagne gifts.

I’ve got some more easy home-made Valentines treats coming up next week, including a scrumptious chocolate giveaway 😉  I’ll meet you back here very soon! xx

[These recipes have been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #Wellness Weekend]

I’ve been a long-standing registered user of mySupermarket and would like to express my gratitude to them for sponsoring this post.