Posts tagged bliss balls
Christmas Wreath Cheesecake! (with so many options!)

I recently took a trip to Spain to soak up some winter sunshine and do some work without the distractions of my kitchen. I have lots of travel plans for next year and this was something of a trial for a location independent work life.

That meant as soon as I landed back in the UK… I was straight back in the kitchen to unleash all that repressed kitchen creativity, ha ha

This was something of spontaneous unplanned creation, although the idea was triggered by a toffee wreath sponge cake in the Ocado Magazine. I veganized it, healthanized it, changed up the flavour and tuned it into a cheesecake. Nothing like the original really!

gingerbread wreath cheesecake 1 includingcake.jpg

What I love about this recipe is the pure versatility…

  • you can make your own plain cheesecake base or if you are pushed for time buy a plain one and focus on making the bliss balls decorations.

  • you can use any cheesecake recipe you prefer (if you have a tried and tested version you love- just go for that!)

  • you can make it any flavour you fancy - I went for gingerbread but any festive theme (or non-festive) would be awesome.

  • You can make the topping ahead of time and then decorate your cheesecake last minute for a super speedy show-stopping dessert.

So have I got your attention yet? :-)

Below, I have provided the cheesecake recipe I used if you want to try it, but as I mention above the main focus of this post is on the decorations, so you could literally use any plain smooth topped cheesecake base you like.

I kept my bliss balls plain for a ‘simple’ understated cake but after I made it I remembered my ‘bliss baubles’ from previous years- they would look absolutely epic on this cake! (Why didn’t I think of that at the time!!)

I developed the ‘baubles’ for a brand so I don’t think I showcase them on my blog at the time - but the concept is simple. Toss desiccated coconut in a little turmeric, greens powder and beetroot powder and roll the balls in it to get a pretty multi-coloured batch!

baubles bliss balls includingcake.jpg

Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cheesecake!

Makes an 8’ cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

Base*

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Cheesecake

  • 1 cup water (separated into 2 x 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tbs agar flakes

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight in cold water or for a couple of hours in hot water, then drained)

  • 1/4 cup syrup of choice (I used coconut)

  • 2 tbs coconut oil

  • 1 tbs lemon juice

  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice

*NOTE: I found my base to be quite ‘bendy’ so it wasn’t as easy to remove from the pan as I would like. (But maybe that’s just me being clumsy as most of the recipe I have looked at use a similar base type)

Method:

Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz together until quite fine and clumpy. Press firmly into the bottom of a spring form pan (lining it may also help- optional). Set aside.

Add 1/2 cup water with the agar flakes to a small sauce pan. bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, blitz the remaining ingredients together in a food processor until thick and smooth (you may need to scrape down a couple of times). By this time the agar should be ready. Add this to the food processor and blitz for a further 20-30 seconds until the mixture is as smooth as it can be.

Working quite quickly (because the agar will begin to set) spoon/pour the mix on top of the cheesecake base. Tap the tin gently to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles. Once cooler enough place the cheesecake in the fridge to fully set (an hour or so).

Meanwhile, make the bliss ball topping as directed below.


Bliss Ball Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup dates (use medjool dates if you haven’t got a powerful food processor)

  • 1 cup dessicated coconut (or nuts of choice- cashew/almond/pecan or a mix all work well)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • handful of goji berries and pumpkin seeds for additional decoration.

*Remember you could use any flavour here or a mix of flavours - e.g orange, cherry bakewell, chocolate, vanilla would all work well depending on what base favour you opt for!

Method:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor. The mix should be soft and clumpy and easy to roll into balls. Using your hands, roll into balls of various (fairly small) sizes.

If choosing to decorate as multi-coloured ‘baubles’ - dust a little extra desiccated coconut with turmeric, greens power and beetroot power (plus blue spirulina if you can get your hands on it!- any other colours?!) and roll the balls in it.

Allow them to chill and firm up whilst the cheesecake base firms up.

Once ready to decorate, place the balls gently in a mix of sizes around the perimeter of the cake top. Sprinkle goji berries and pumpkin seeds as desired in the gaps as ‘foliage’.

NOTE: you could make these ahead of time as they will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They transport well too if you needed to take them elsewhere to a festive party and decorate a cake there!

The entire assembled cheesecake will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

gingerbread wreath cheesecake 2 includingcake.jpg
gingerbread wreath cheesecake 3 includingcake.jpg


Did you try it?

I’d love to see… tag @johodson on Instagram with your creation!! :-)


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The Festive Recipe Bundle!

A ‘Bliss’full Christmas?

With the festive season fast approaching… I had a slightly spontaneous idea to create a festive recipe bundle including a new version of my ‘top 5 recipes’ with some new favourites I have created since the first edition.

I coupled the Christmas Recipe Guides with my favourite Bliss Ball Guide (featuring loads of recipes that haven’t appeared on the blog) because, for me, Bliss Balls are the perfect Christmas homemade gift… so many of my customers and friends will likely attest to that, ha ha!

‘Printables’

The fun bonus with these ebooks is that they are designed such that you can print them (ideally on card), cut them along the dotted lines to keep on hand in the kitchen OR even better, use the recipe card as a gift tag when you present your homemade gift… that way your ‘giftee’ can make the recipe again for themselves. Fun, right? ;-)

All the recipes are vegan (of course) gluten free (some use oats so opt for GF versions) and refined-sugar free… so you have an indulgent Christmas without compromise.

*Note… I don’t want to imply that there should be any ‘food guilt’ I aim to inspire your creativity with food NOT make you feel bad about food! So go full out and eat sugar and refined foods if you want to, I just know many of us feel so much better in mind and body when sticking to mostly whole foods and unrefined ingredients if there is the option, and so if that’s you thing… I’ve totally got you covered!

The whole bundle is just £5…

You can buy it HERE (or click the pic below!)

P.s I’d love you to tag me on social media in any recipes you make - Instagram is my favourite hangout- I’m @johodson over there :-)

If you don’t fancy getting the guides right now, you can still get lots of recipe ideas right here on my blog… Here are a few to get you going!


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My top #Rawgust meal ideas & raw banana bread recipe!

It's coming up to the end of the month. The end of August.... and therefore the end of #Rawgust

I didn't announce it directly on my blog (kept that to social media) but I made the decision on the last day of their life to give Raugust a go - that's raw vegan for the month of August. My boyfriend was also up for playing along which helped!

RAWGUST.jpg

I felt very unprepared and aware that it may not run perfectly or smoothly but that's ok. It was the spontaneity that spoke to me in the moment when I saw a post by the Ethcs crew that I really resonated with.

Having spent time at Raw Fest on the last weekend of July, and more recently exploring the connection between a plant-based diet and our innate sense of creativity for my forthcoming book, I am learning that a raw vegan diet has the potential to bring you even closer to that connection with self, with source, with nature.

My good friend Rhiannon Van Der Griffin recently shared her raw journey with me a part of my book research and I was inspired more than ever to try it for myself. 

In moments like this I come back to this quote by Matt Cutts. It's simply about getting curious to explore what becoming the very best version of you could look like. For 30 days.

m4m17.jpg

So how did the month play out for me?

NOTE: more in depth update in this post!

Well, I admit I wasn't perfect. I wasn't 100% raw. Probably about 85% in reality. 

One of the biggest reasons for wanting to do it, was to increase my repertoire of raw meal ideas for the future, and that I did for sure. In particular, raw sauces, dips and dressings for salads can REALLY make a salad.... it doesn't often matter what veggies you have in the bowl if you have an incredible sauce to smoother them in, right? ;-) Make enough for the week and you have easy meals lunches you can make in moments. 

I am going to put together a separate post sharing a big roundup of raw recipes from a vegan community I am part of, but for now I'd like to share a few of my favourite discoveries and tips.

I'd also love to hear about your own 'raw' adventures...

Whether that might simply be incorporating a green smoothie each day, or a raw lunch Monday to Friday, or more raw snacks. It's not about hitting 100% perfect, what works for you?

Have you felt any benefits going more 'raw'? Or what are you currently struggling with?

My favourite things to make...

  • Raw sauces etc (as noted above) - make a weeks worth.

  • Deyhdrated flax crackers which are great as a snack in the go, as cracker as a 'bread substitute' and also as croutons in a salad when sliced into tiny squares- recipe here

  • Bliss Balls are also an obvious go-to, BUT I did have a tendency to eat a lot of them and then be too full for a massive salad- ooops!

  • Courgetti- spiralised courrgette and carrot for a fun pretty bowl. Also great with the chunky bolognaise- see pic above - recipe to come.

  • Smoothies of all kinds - green, berry or banana and raw cacao for a chocolate hit!

  • Overnight oats - this one is a little contentious as to whether it's actually raw, since rolled porridge oats are technically heated in the rolling process. But this was often nice to wake up to instead of smoothie or fruit bowl in the morning, or as lunch on the go.

  • Mushroom curry - so easy and so good (see pic above) based on this recipe using cashews.

  • Lettuce wraps with a peanut satay dipping sauce (technical the peanut butter component wasn't raw) note: gem lettuce leaves work best- those in the picture were from my veggie patch.

Still a few more days of #Rawgust to go, so I will see what creations catch my eye- I will be back with more raw recipes here soon!

For now, I'll leave you with this recipe for a raw banana bread... I totally made this up as I went along, but it worked so well as a spin-off on a bliss ball style creation.

raw banana bread rawgust.jpg

Recipe: Raw Banana Bread Slice

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas

  • 2 tbs flax seed

  • 1 cup dates

  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts- chopped (I used macadamias*)

  • 1/2 cup nuts- ground (I used pecans*)

  • pinch salt

* I loved the flavour and texture of the chunky macadamia pieces, but I imagine cashews or almond would also work well. Any ground nut could be used.

If you want a more intense 'double banana' flavour, try using dried banana pieces (not banana chips) instead of dates - or half and half.

Method:

Blend the banana with the flax, cinnamon and dates until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well to form a stiff slightly sticky 'dough'. (I pulsed the mix together in a food processor but you could do it by hand). 

Form into a log on a liner and chill for at least an hour to firm up. Once firm slice into pieces and serve. Store in the fridge for up to a week. This freezes well too.

NOTE: It makes about three times the amount shown, but I gifted most of it to my boyfriend before I had a chance to shoot it ;-)

raw banana bread rawgust.jpg
 

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Bliss Baubles... fun Christmas gift (and the Ultimate Guide!)

At the beginning of this month you may recall I launched a simple advent gratitude challenge on Facebook. I've been feeling festive now that all the adverts are on TV and the countdown to Christmas is in full flow...  I am also feeling very reflective and setting in motion what I want to create in 2017! Maybe this is what triggered the gratitude challenge.

I also ran another 'Bliss Ball' workshop a few weekends ago (we also had one on my last two retreats) and it was so much fun!  As I was making up all the mix I had an idea for a simple gift idea...

christmas bliss balls gift

Mini bliss balls in a bauble! Yay!

Simply, blend up some dates, nut butter and cacoa (or use your favourite bliss ball recipe) roll into small balls then dust in extra cacao. 

Below are the rough ratios (I rarely measure bliss ball ingredients these days!)... basically make sure you process the ingredients well and end up with a mix that tatses good and isn't too sticky to handle. Add more dry ingredient or chill for a while if too sticky.

The guide is my go too recipe when it comes to bliss ball making. The perfect beginning 'base'.

Guide recipe:

  • 2 cups medjool dates or soaked deglet noor dates (drain them very well!)

  • 1/2 heaped cup desiccated coconut, ground almonds or nut butter

  • 1/4 cup cocoa or raw cacao (plus extra for dusting)

  • few drops of flavour extract to taste (optional) - peppermint, orange and rosewater are my favourites!

Pop a handful of balls in a plastic bauble- the type made in two halves (I found a set of 8cm baubles on Ebay) add a ribbon and a gift tag with a little message if giving as a gift... or just hang on the tree! 

I didn't take a great photo as I hadn't initially planned to blog it (only Instagram it), but I thought it was such a lovely idea, I wanted to share it here too!

They'd make great stocking fillings, thank you gifts or healthy Christmas tree candy! 

Here is a pic from the workshop in Lanzarote.... messy hands!

Here is a pic from the workshop in Lanzarote.... messy hands!

As I am such a big lover of bliss balls/power balls/energy balls... (whatever name floats your boat). I made a fun guide 'The Ultimate Bliss Ball Guide' and you can buy it here for just $5. You can simply view it digitally or print as cut into a card set as I have designed it be used :-)  No excuse for not having healthy, indulgent, energising snacks to hand any more!

Packed full with 20 EASY NO-BAKE RECIPES. Complete with lots of variations for endless fun and exploration!

Enjoy... be sure to tag me if you make any of the recipes!


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Baked 'Bakewell' Pie.... New favourite easy festive 'bressert'!

I have found my new Christmas breakfast for this year!  Or more accurately 'bressert' - when  dish i heathy enough for breakfast but indulgent enough for dessert!

It's a spin on my equally wonderful classic Christmas baked oats from over 4 years ago now (wow time flies!) and it's the new recipe I'll be making for my family on Christmas morning. 

Recipe: Baked 'Bakewell' Pie

This year we are spending Christmas Day at my brother and his girlfriend's house in Winchester, and knowing they both love 'Bakewell Tart' flavours I was inspired to create a breakfast in their honour. The mini bliss balls pressed into the top are added indulgence as I had some mix in my fridge from the recent workshop I ran (more workshops in the New Year if you want to come!) but you could omit these or simply use marzipan and roll into balls if you have that to hand! Or you could use Bakewell Nakd bars chopped up, ha ha (not a sponsored link!) I will say the balls do make an incredible addition to this breakfast so add them if you can.

The three big things I love about baked oatmeals are...

  1. They literally take minutes to mix up in one bowl and you can just as easily make breakfast for two or eight by just changing at the quantities (and the size of the baking dish)
  2. There are almost endless flavour combinations (I have loads on my blog already)
  3. They are healthy enough for breakfast but indulgent enough for dessert!

The bliss ball recipe I used is available here in my newly launched 'The Ultimate Bliss Ball Recipe Guide'. It has 20 recipes AND loads of alternative options for each so the ideas really are limitless... this guide will be a great addition to a January health kick too!  I made the book as a 'printable layout' so you can print and cut the cards up to give as gifts with a recipe you've made.  

It's the little things that make me happy! :-)

 

Now, back to the Bakewell Pie recipe...

Recipe: Baked 'Bakewell' Pie

Recipe: Baked 'Bakewell' Pie

Serves 2 (could just as easily be doubled or tripled....)

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1 1/2 cup non dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 tbs ground flax seed or chia seed
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup roughly crumbled frozen raspberries*
  • bliss balls or marzipan balls (optional)
  • approx. 1 tbs maple syrup to taste (or any unrefined sweetener of choice) 

*I didn't have cherries to hand (which would have made a more classic bakewell). I use frozen fruits as they are more readily available for me at this time of year. Their colour does not bleed so much as I mix then through, and they do not risk burning in the oven.

Method:

Mix everything together adding the raspberries in the final strokes. Spoon into a medium oven dish, add a few extra almond flakes into the top if you like. Don't addd the bliss balls yet! If you are making your own bliss balls, you have a 10 minute window to make them now.

Bake at 180C for a total of approx. 25 mins until the topping is golden. After 10-15 mins whilst the top is still quite soft (and not golden) add the bliss balls, pressing them lightly into the top. Continue baking until golden on top.

Serve immediately, alone or with non-dairy yoghurt, cream or (ice-cream for dessert!) Also great eaten cold the next day.

raspberry almond oatbake 3a.jpg
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Mini pumpkins... speedy last minute halloween treat!

I have so many recipe photos stored up in my computer, ready for editing and blogging... finding dedicated time to do so is somewhat tricky at times!  But I promise I will get back on it much more consistently as we gear up to the end of the year since sharing recipes is something I love so much!

I made this pumpkin themed recipe yesterday AND I had to no choice but to get on here and share because otherwise Halloween would be over! ha ha

If you are planning a gathering of some sort over the weekend, or need to take a treat to one, these could be a great bet. I found the flavours a little more sophisticated than regular bliss balls, so adults taste buds may prefer them, but i'll let you decide on that!

These are really quick to make. I used roasted pumpkin for depth of flavour and a less wet mix, but for speed you could use fresh raw chunks or puree from a can BUT in that case you will likely need to add extra oatmeal (or a similar dry ingredient) since the resulting mix will be wetter than when using roasted pumpkin which has a lot less moisture remaining. I used a smaller culinary pumpkin but I don't see why regular larger carving pumpkins would not work just as well.

Don't skimp of dusting lightly in turmeric for the orangey glow, it won't be overpowering to taste and really makes them look the part (though take the clove out before eating!)

Enjoy your mini pumpkins and any festive fun you might be having the weekend! 

Recipe: Mini pumpkin bliss balls

Recipe: Mini pumpkin bliss balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups roasted pumpkin chunks or 1/2 cup puree
  • 1/2 cup ground oats
  • 1 cup dates*
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (or to taste) (note- this is pumpkin spice if in the US)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a light dusting of turmeric to coat

* Just using dates was sweet enough for me, but taste the mix and add a little coconut sugar or stevia if desired.

Method:

Chop a fresh pumpkin into small approx, 2cm chunks and roast for 15 mins or until golden. I didn't coat my chunks in any oil. Note: you'll need around 1.5 cups of chunks as it will shrink during roasting. 

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until fairly smooth. If the mixture is very sticky add extra oatmeal or other dry ingredient. 

I allowed my mix to 'set' a little in the freezer for approx 30 mins so it was easy to handle. Roll into balls and toss lightly in turmeric- add a little extra mixed spice to the turmeric if you like.

Press to form a squashed ball (pumpkin shape) and add a clove to the top for extra authenticity ;-)

Keep chilled until ready to eat.

Recipe: Mini pumpkin bliss balls
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No-Bake Choc Berry Beet Balls!

I am in love with beetroot power! Aside from the fact it looks super cool with it's bright red colour, it imparts a sweetness to recipes and well as a nutritional boost. Beetroot juice is known to be great for our blood, athletes love it as a pre-work out.

chocolate beetroot energy balls

In relation to other so called 'superfoods' beetroot power is actually pretty economically priced, another winner in my view. I mix it into smoothies and porridge but here I have used it as a coating for these chocolate berry balls (you could make other flavours such as choc orange).

I thought they were quite halloweeny or even Christmassy... even though I am trying to resist thinking about Christmas- I imagine they would look awesome in a bowl alongside some spiralling covered chocolate balls! ha ha

What are you plans for Halloween... will you be celebrating?

chocolate beetroot energy balls

Recipe: Choc Berry Beet Balls

Makes approx 15 balls

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup packed dates
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1 cup cashews or almonds
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ¼ cup beet powder (plus extra to coat)
  • ½ tsp cherry extract (or sub for orange extract is that’s more your thing)

Method:

Blend all ingredients together in food processor until you have a slightly sticky well blended mix.

Roll into walnut sized balls with your and dust in the beet powder. Allow to chill in the fridge to firm.

chocolate beetroot energy balls
chocolate beetroot energy balls
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‘Twelve Days’ day 6: Mini Christmas puds

So, a couple of days ago I told you there was another marzipan inspired treat coming up….no more waiting…. it’s here!

So cute it seems cruel to eat them!

These are a combination of my chocolate orange smoosh bars and the marzipan to create a mini Christmas pudding with custard top. I added some ’holly ’using a little bit of green colouring to the marzipan and a topped with a clove for completeness.  Because cloves are so powerfully fragrant, they added a slight spiced taste to the whole pud. I really liked this as It made it all the more Christmassy flavoured, but if you are not  keen on the taste of cloves I suggest you omit or just use for decoration right before serving so they aren’t in place for so long.

These will store well for a couple of weeks, perfect to make in advance for guests throughout the holiday season. They are also gluten free, raw, super simple, super healthy and just…well…super all round! If you used the marzipan recipe I gave for the stollen you should have enough left over to easily make about 20 custard tops (maybe more). To make 20 puds you will need to double the recipe below.

See my original posts highlighted above or simply refer below where I have included the recipes again for efficiency.

Recipe: Mini Christmas puds

Ingredients - Pudding:

(makes approx. 10 puddings)

  • 100g dates
  • 60g cashews
  • 45g raisins
  • 20g coconut flour
  • 10g ground oats
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • Grated rind of 1 orange or ½ tsp orange extract

Ingredients - Marzipan:

(you will need only 1/3 of this amount for the topping- use or freeze the remainder)

  • 100g finely ground almonds
  • 100g white coloured ‘healthy flour’ e.g spelt or other GF flour
  • 100g coconut butter
  • 50g agave (tiny pinch stevia)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (more if needed to taste)

Method

The method is so simple! Blitz together each batch of ingredients in a food processor until a fine sticky powdery crumb is formed. Create the balls by pressing together with your hands. Make sure there is no contamination between the batches (or from your hands) otherwise the marzipan will be discoloured.

Make the custard tops by taking smaller balls then flattening them out over the top of the pudding balls smoothing the edges down and to give the effect of poured custard or cream.

Mix a little bit of green food colouring to part of the dough, mix through well then pull off small pieces to pinch into shape as holly leaves. Press the leaves onto the top of the ‘custard’ and add a clove for decoration.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a little while to fully firm up but then these can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Note: you will probably find the marzipan dough feels oily as you mould it, this is just the oils from the coconut in the warmth of your hands. Once cool the marzipan will not be oily.

For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.

These make great little gifts... which reminds me I had planned on linking to a few of my favourites Pinterest pins that i'd come across for the holiday season. There is still plenty of time to get crafty.... I know i'll be using a few of these myself!


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