Ladies’ Dessert: Maca Chocolate Mousse To Balance Your Hormones (vegan + almost raw)

Maca Chocolate Mousse
I’ve got a final recipe to share with you for the “Ladies’ Recipes” series, in which I use maca powder in every day recipes to help you balance your hormones and hopefully reduce painful cramps. A BIG thank you to everyone who shared their experience in the comment section of the Raspberry Maca Smoothie and Vanilla Maca Porridge posts – creating a dialogue is exactly what I wanted to encourage, so we could all swap tips and hopefully inspire each other not to feel embarrassed or ashamed of our personal experiences with period pains. 

The best tips I’ve seen in the comments are:

  • keep hydrated: drinks lots of water prior to your period, and during
  • avoid sugar and highly processed foods, as well as coffee and alcohol
  • a hot water bottle helps calm the cramps – get a mini one so it’s discrete at the office :)
  • and using maca, of course :)

My dear friend Ellie also mentioned keeping your knees/feet higher than your uterus helps (!), so place a pillow underneath your knees when you sleep. The things you learn…!

Since we’ve covered breakfast twice, I thought it best to move on to my second favourite meal of the day… dessert!

Avocado chocolate mousse is one of those desserts that is just ridiculously easy to whip together; if you’re like me, you usually have an avocado or two in the kitchen. Raw cacao powder is the healthiest and most nutrition ingredient to use, but you could easily make this with cocoa powder. I like to add almond or peanut butter for extra creaminess and flavour. If you use raw nut butter and raw non-dairy milk, this recipes is entirely raw. It’s up to you how you customise it! This makes a single serving; to create a bigger batch, simply multiply the measurements by however many people you wish to serve. 

Bon appétit, ladies!
Maca Chocolate Mousse
Maca Chocolate Mousse #vegan - hormone balancing dessert

Ladies' Dessert: Maca Chocolate Mousse To Balance Your Hormones
lalala
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Ingredients
  1. 1 avocado, pitted
  2. 125ml (1/2 cup) almond or soya milk
  3. 2 tbsp cacao powder
  4. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  5. 1 tsp peanut or almond butter (optional)
  6. 1 tsp maca powder
Instructions
  1. Blend all till smooth. Enjoy straight away or keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
The Vegan Cookie Fairy http://thevegancookiefairy.com/
I’m pleased to say my first week at my new job went really well – the team is so welcoming and inclusive, and it looks like my job will be challenging and varied. Just what I’d hoped for. Thanks for all your well wishes, it meant a lot to me!

 

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Ladies’ Smoothie: Raspberry Maca Hormone-Balancing

Raspberry Maca #Vegan Smoothie - Hormone Balancing
I received such a positive response on my last post, Vanilla Maca Oat Porridge + my thoughts on talking freely about menstrual cycles, hormones and female health. I hit publish on that post with a shaky hand but your support and comments really touched me: you were so frank, so eager to speak up! Thank you for that; it means a lot more than you can imagine. 

Another thing that surprised me was the number of you that asked me for more recipes containing maca. You ask, I deliver! This is a new spin on an old recipe I shared on the blog years ago, and I have one more recipe coming in what I am now calling the “Ladies’ Recipes”. Ladies, thank you for inspiring me, in the kitchen and in life! 
Raspberry Maca #Vegan Smoothie - Hormone Balancing
This smoothie is quick and easy to make, and gives you a welcome boost of energy at any time of day. I like drinking it at breakfast since it gives me energy for the day ahead (which I can use now I have a brand new, exciting job!!) and it helps keep the cramps at bay. If you want to add some extra iron to your diet (which is important when you’re on your period) you can add a bunch of spinach or kale to the smoothie. 

Raspberry + maca is a pretty great combination – it tastes fruity and fresh, especially if you use frozen raspberries, and the nut butter makes it so creamy, though you can omit if you’re allergic to nuts or simply prefer a thinner smoothie. If you’re unsure about maca, try 1 tsp to start with, but if you already love this flavour feel free to up the dose to 2 tsp.  
Raspberry Maca #Vegan Smoothie - Hormone Balancing

Ladies' Smoothie: Raspberry Maca Hormone-Balancing Smoothie
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup (or a handful of) frozen raspberries
  2. 250ml (1 cup) almond milk
  3. 1 tsp maca powder
  4. 1 tsp peanut or almond butter
  5. 1 tbsp hemp hearts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Blend all till smooth. If you like a thinner smoothie, add more almond milk.
The Vegan Cookie Fairy http://thevegancookiefairy.com/
So I’ve just started a new job and I’m a wee bit apprehensive! What are your tips for finding your place in a new office/workplace, how do you ease into a new routine?

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“Ladies’ Porridge”: Vanilla Maca Oats To Balance Your Hormones

Vanilla Maca Oat Porridge Hormone Balancing #Vegan Breakfast 2
I’m going to talk about an uncomfortable subject today, though in my opinion it shouldn’t be uncomfortable at all. I totally understand if you want to skip to the recipe part below, but if you’ve ever experience cripplingly painful cramps or hormone imbalance, read on.

Vanilla Maca Oat Porridge Hormone Balancing #Vegan Breakfast 2 

So. Periods.

I’m really thankful to Emily from This Rawsome Vegan Life for being so vocal about her period pains and the foods she uses to combat the cramps. Before she started sharing her experience on Instagram, I had never seen anyone else do this. Though I received a thorough sexual education at the liberal school I attended in Belgium, periods were still something you just didn’t talk about in public. I remember when I got my first period (quite late in my teens; I was therefore overjoyed to know I wasn’t barren) I went straight to my girlfriends to talk about it–and they ‘ewwed’ and hushed me. They didn’t want to hear about it, even though it was something that happened to them every single month.

So ok, it’s not pretty. But why are we so ashamed of it? It happens every damn month and though it’s a messy occurence, it signifies that you’re healthy and able to bear children. Isn’t that good?? I find it isolating and infuriating to have to pretend like I’m not in pain for up to two weeks (I get really long, and really heavy periods) every 34 days or so.

I lost my period a few times in my life; the longest I went without it was ten months. It was terrifying. Now I have it back, I’m super thankful, even though I complain about it a lot because it’s horrifically painful. Like, lie down in bed and cry because the painkillers aren’t working kind of painful. It seems to get worse over the winter and better with the warm weather, but I’ve learned by now what helps me to cope with the cramps.

Enter this Vanilla Maca Oat Porridge. It seems a simple concept but adding this superfood – a Peruvian root, ground to a powder – kicks it up to a whole new level. The flavour is quite delicate, and the superfood properties of maca powder have been shown in lots of studies to aid in reducing cramps and balancing hormones. Ideal to make your time of the month a little bit easier. 

Vanilla Maca Oat Porridge Hormone Balancing #Vegan Breakfast
Vanilla Maca Oat Porridge Hormone Balancing #Vegan Breakfast

There are a few tricks I’ve found that can naturally help to alleviate painful period cramps:

  1. Maca powder. There are numerous studies showing the beneficial effects of this ancient Peruvian powder: it balances female hormones*, stimulates your fertility*, boosts your energy* and tastes really offing good.
  2. Don’t be (too much of) a hippy about it. I don’t like the idea of taking loads of painkillers to cure every little headache or hangover, but my periods can be so violently painful that I have no choice but take a few Feminax every so often. Plenty of you will probably disagree with me on this, but green juice can only take you so far. Take a few painkillers if it gets really bad, and if it gets really really really bad, take the day off and stay in bed. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
  3. Try to eat as many greens as possible. If you’re like me, the last thing you want when you’re on your period is a salad. I would eat chocolate and peanut butter on toast exclusively if it were sensible, but you need iron to replenish your depleted stores. If it’s easier to drink ‘em, have a green juice or green smoothie.
  4. Avoid coffee and alcohol. I can forgo the coffee but resisting a glass of wine or a dram of whiskey can be hard; but if I’m having a hellish period, I know it’s more sensible for me. I just drink a maca latte instead.
  5. Forget dieting. Eat the damn chocolate (for iron and good feelies) and save none for anyone else.
(I also read/heard somewhere that abdominal exercises exacerbate period pains but I an’t find any information on this online. Anybody know more about this??)

So, ladies, if around ‘that time of the month’ you feel as though your uterus is self-destructing, you may want to consider adding maca powder to your diet. I personally also enjoy it in smoothies and lattes, and when I buy a pack it lasts around 3 months, so the price isn’t too steep over time. 

And don’t pretend like it’s not happening to you. I’m not saying you should send round an hourly email to your coworkers with status updates of your ‘uterine shedding’, but it’s ok to talk about it to your closest friends, your flatmate, your boyfriend, your mother. Talking to my friends about my period and my struggles with hormone balancing felt liberating, and we were able to learn a lot from each other about how our bodies work. 

This is where I loudly start to sing ‘Sister Suffragette‘ because FEMALE LIBERATION and leave you to drool over this dreamy porridge.   

Vanilla Maca Oat Porridge Hormone Balancing #Vegan Breakfast 4

Maca Porridge
Serves 1
If you're suffering from hormone imbalance or painful cramps, adding maca powder to your morning porridge can make a real difference to your health and wellbeing. This porridge is uber-creamy and wonderfully comforting – just what you want when you're feeling low on energy and crampy. The maca adds a subtle flavour too, which is great with a little maple syrup or coconut sugar.
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
7 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
7 min
Ingredients
  1. 50g (1/2 cup) whole rolled oats
  2. 350-375ml (1.5 cups) water, or mix of water and plant-based milk
  3. 1 tsp maca powder
  4. 1 tsp chia seed
  5. 1 tsp coconut sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup (optional)
  6. 1 tbsp coconut cream or oil (optional)
  7. Toppings such as banana, apple, hemp seeds, cinnamon, cocoa powder, nut or seed butter
Instructions
  1. Add the oats, maca powder and chia seeds to a small saucepan. Pour in two thirds of the water, saving the rest for later, and place the saucepan over moderate heat.
  2. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon. The porridge will quickly thicken up; if it thickens too much, too quickly, you can add the rest of the water a little at a time until you've reached the desired consistency, which is somewhere between liquid sludge and thick paste. (Tasty, I know.) If you want a seriously creamy porridge, add a tablespoon of coconut cream or oil.
  3. Pour the porridge into a bowl. Top with anything you wish: I like sliced banana, peanut or almond butter, cinnamon and/or coconut sugar. Enjoy straight away!
Notes
  1. This makes a hefty portion of porridge. If you're not that hungry you can reduce the oats to 30g (1/3 cup) and the water to 250ml (1 cup).
The Vegan Cookie Fairy http://thevegancookiefairy.com/
LADIES, I want to hear from you. What are  your experiences in dealing with painful cramps? Do you have any tips to ease the pain? Let’s open up the discussion in the comments below!

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Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake

Hullo! I hope you’ve all had a lovely Easter weekend. I personally enjoyed long walks through Edinburgh city, along Portobello Beach, climbing Calton Hill,  and scoffing down my Moo Free Bunnycomb egg and The Chocolate Tree coconut milk dark chocolate egg and my lemon sugar pancakes. All in all, a great weekend :)

***

Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake
Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake
Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake   

Long-time readers will probably remember this recipe that I created over a year ago for my mother’s birthday, when she came to visit me in Stirling, where I lived at the time. Much to my dismay this recipe had somehow disappeared from my archives and I was ready to tear my hair out (whyyyyyyyy don’t I back things up?????!!) (*immediately invests in Vaultpress) (is then confused about how Vaultpress works) when I remembered this recipe was also published on One Green Planet (as a few of my recipes are). Phew! Heart attack avoided, hair still in place.

Seriously, though. If there is something that often makes you think ‘Hm, I’d hate to ever lose all this [insert whatever] that I spent so much time and effort working on’ GO BACK THAT SHIT UP RIGHT NOW.

Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake
Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake
Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake 

I’m pretty annoyed because there was some good writing in that original blog post – I always put a lot of time in effort in writing a good blog post, and writing is half the fun, really.

And now to calm ourselves, let’s have a slice of Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake. 

(Note: I know I created a chocolate mousse cake recently BUT this one is quite different. It contains more ingredients and is a bit more, shall we say, sophisticated. (Read: made for those who have the patience to create something so beautiful instead of instant-satisfaction-scoff-it-down chocolate mousse cake.))

Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake
Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake #vegan #nobake

 

Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake
Serves 8
I am proud of my Belgian heritage and there is no better way to show this than through chocolate. Gianduja, the creamy, sophisticated Italian-inspired chocolate bar, was always my mother’s favorite, and something I did not come to fully appreciate until I was older myself. The combination of hazelnuts and chocolate makes for an elegant, ‘adult’ dessert; it’s the ultimate showstopper cake if you need to impress anyone. No one will ever guess it’s vegan!
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Crust
  1. 300g (10.5 oz) bourbon creams (or any chocolate biscuits/cookies/crackers)
  2. 200g (7 oz) chopped dates, stones removed
  3. 2 tbsp hazelnut milk
Gianduja filling
  1. 400g (14 oz) raw hazelnuts, skins removed and soaked for 30 minutes
  2. 250ml (1 cup) hazelnut milk
  3. 50ml (about 1/3 cup) maple syrup
  4. 200g (7 oz) dark chocolate
  5. 1 tbsp coconut cream
Chocolate ganache and decoration
  1. 3 tbsp icing sugar
  2. 3 tbsp dark cocoa powder
  3. 250ml (1 cup) (minus 1 tbsp, see above) of cold coconut cream
  4. 50g (1.75 oz) chopped hazelnuts
Crust
  1. Line a springform tin with baking parchment.
  2. Pulse the bourbon creams till they resemble coarse sand. Add the chopped dates and pulse till combined.
  3. Pour this sticky mixture into a bowl.
  4. Add the hazelnut milk and mix it all together with your hands until you obtain a sticky batter.
  5. Press this dough into the bottom of your springform tin, making it smooth and even.
  6. Leave it to set in the fridge.
Gianduja filling
  1. Place the hazelnuts, milk and maple syrup in a food processor and blend on a high speed until the ingredients have become a smooth paste. You will need a powerful processor or blender for this.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and coconut cream together.
  3. Be patient, or the chocolate will burn. It should look glossy, and it must not be allowed to bubble. When it has totally melted, pour the chocolate over the hazelnut paste and fold it in.
  4. Pour the Gianduja mix into the springform tin. Smooth the top with your spatula.
  5. Refrigerate until needed.
Chocolate ganache and decoration
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the ingredients until evenly combined. Pour over the cake.
  2. Leave the cake to set for at least 3 hours (overnight is always safest).
  3. Carefully remove from the springform tin. Bejewel the sides of your cake with chopped hazelnuts by grabbing a handful of them and pressing them into the cake with the palm of your hand. This is messy but loads of fun.
  4. Serve straight away.
Notes
  1. I know American and other international readers may not have access to Bourbon creams. Firstly, let me commiserate your loss; life's not worth living without Bourbon creams (I am not being dramatic here). But any chocolate biscuit will do.
  2. Try chocolate Oreos (check that they are vegan!) or other sandwich biscuits with a creamy centre. Always, always check the ingredients list before you buy.
  3. You can purchase coconut cream from most large supermarkets. If you should for some reason not be able to find any, fret not; soya cream or full-fat coconut milk will do the trick. Whatever substitute you opt for, remember that it must set in the fridge.
The Vegan Cookie Fairy http://thevegancookiefairy.com/
 Have you ever lost anything that you’d created because you didn’t back it up?

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Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs

Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs
Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs

I have to say that though there have been dramatic improvements in the range of vegan and dairy-free Easter chocolate egg options on the mainstream market, I’m still disappointed in the available products.

Maybe I’m too picky? I don’t know, but I do know that for now, the commercial vegan Easter eggs just don’t live up to the chocolates I used to enjoy as a child. It could also be that traditions being different here in the UK, I find it hard to recreate my childhood Easter celebration, which consisted of my mother hiding mini chocolate eggs all around the living room, dining room and kitchen, and my sister and I racing to gather the most. We’d count them up afterwards, sorting them into large mixing bowls (that I still have to this day) and whoever had the most was the winner.

But in the UK people buy these great big Easter eggs – and they’re hollow. What’s the point in that?? If I wanted a plain chocolate shell I could have just bought a plain slab of chocolate and been done with it. Easter is about total indulgence: pralines, truffles, boozy fillings, white and dark chocolate eggs, …

So, Dear Chocolate Makers of Britain, I’m sorry to say that your Easter eggs are not up to scratch.

Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs

Call me finnicky, but I just want what I want. Enter these vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs.

This recipe is based on my Guylians Chocolate Sea Shells, which would also be perfect for Easter. An Easter egg should be a surprise, a delight; that’s what these are. A creamy chocolate shell covering a decadent hazelnut praline chocolate centre, wrapped in fierce determination and served with a side of gluttony.

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you have a wicked weekend and eat chocolate to your heart’s content.

Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs  
Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs

Note: I have included a link to an Easter egg mould in the recipe BUT it isn’t the one I have. It’s as close as I could find. The Easter egg mould I own came from eBay but doesn’t seem to be available anymore. The egg sizes are like small chicken’s eggs, or quails’ eggs. Medium-small-ish is what I would call them, but I know that’s infuriatingly vague. This one also looks similar to my mould.

Vegan Chocolate Praline Easter Eggs
Yields 16
Vegans can have deliciously sweet and satisfying chocolate eggs for Easter, at last! This recipe is easy to make at home, requires just a handful of ingredients that can be found in most supermarkets, and it delivers amazing results. Happy Easter!
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Chocolate Praline
  1. 80g (1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
  2. 60ml (1/4 cup) water
  3. 100g (3/4 cup) hazelnuts
  4. 100g (3.5 oz) creamed coconut
  5. 300g (10.5 oz) dairy-free dark chocolate chips
Chocolate Shell
  1. 100g (3.5 oz) creamed coconut
  2. 400g (7 oz) dairy-free dark chocolate chips
  3. You will need: 16 medium-small easter egg moulds
Instructions
  1. Start by preparing the chocolate praline.Line a rectangular platter or baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the brown sugar in the water. Raise the heat a little and boil till the caramel is reduced by half. Keep a close eye on the saucepan; caramel easily burns. Swirl the pan to prevent any burning and sticking.
  3. Add the hazelnuts to the caramel, coating each hazelnut, then pour onto the baking parchment. Leave to cool for at least ten minutes, or until the caramel has hardened on the hazelnuts. Pulse to a fine powder in a food processor.
  4. Melt the creamed coconut and plain chocolate au bain-marie, i.e. in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of boiling water. When completely melted, fold in the fine hazelnut powder. Set aside to cool while you make the chocolate shell.
  5. Place the chocolate egg mould in the freezer.
  6. In another bowl, melt the creamed coconut and chocolate chips for the chocolate shell au bain-marie. Leave the melted chocolate to cool until it is thick enough but still liquid enough to pour.
  7. Drop about a tablespoon of the cooled chocolate into each shell in the ice-cold mould, swirling the mould or using a teaspoon to cover the whole shell. Place the mould back into the freezer for about twenty minutes to set the chocolate.
  8. Fill the chocolate shells with the praline mixture, flattening the top. Place in the freezer for half an hour to an hour to set.
  9. Leave the egg halves as they are or stick them together with a little melted chocolate if you wish. Keep in an airtight box at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week.
Notes
  1. Creamed coconut is not coconut cream. Its texture is more similar to cacao butter and at room temperature it remains firm, making it ideal to create solid chocolates. You can find it in the Asian or world foods aisle in the supermarket.
  2. You'll likely have some chocolate praline left over. If you don't eat it straight out of the bowl (like I did) you can roll them into marble-sized balls, leave them in the fridge to set for about an hour, then enjoy them as they are or cover them with chocolate.
The Vegan Cookie Fairy http://thevegancookiefairy.com/
What’s your favourite Easter tradition?

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