Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies | Refined-Sugar Free | Gluten-Free | Low Oil

I’m sure many if not all of you guys have one health-related fitness goal for 2018 and I wish you guys all the best on it! Sometimes I just crave something “cookie like” and indulgent, that’s where these bad boys come in: my vegan, refined sugar free chocolate chunk cookies.

 

Don’t they look AMAZING!!

I discovered this recipe by accident, I was baking in the kitchen, chucked a few ingredients I had in my pantry and BAM I made the best cookies I’ve ever made. They are soft and chewy and the chocolate chunks tie the whole cookie together. If you are looking for an indulgent yet healthy recipe, don’t worry ya girl’s got your back.

 

Lindt 90% Chocolate Block

The good thing about these cookies is that you can eat the batter because it’s vegan!

 

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies | Refined-Sugar Free | Gluten-Free | Low Oil

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies | Refined-Sugar Free | Gluten-Free | Low Oil

Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups of oat flour (blended up oats)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 3/4 tsp of baking powder
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of corn starch
    Wet Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup of dairy free milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp of coconut oil (or any oil of choice)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp of nut butter
    Chocolate Chunks:
  • vegan, dark chocolate. (I like to use this block of Lindt 90% chocolate which you can get from Coles or Woolworths- it’s low in sugar and vegan)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F).
  2. Mix wet ingredients together.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large separate bowl.
  4. Mix wet ingredients together with dry ingredients until a sticky dough forms.
  5. Place in fridge for 10-15 minutes
  6. Meanwhile, roughly chop up half a bar of the vegan dark chocolate and set aside.
  7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Stir in chocolate chunks into cookie batter.
  9. Taste test the batter 🙂
  10. Form into cookie shapes. I just did traditional round ones.
  11. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle with some salt to balance dark chocolate.
  13. Serve with a glass of milk!
http://byaliciagrace.com/vegan-chocolate-chunk-cookies-refined-sugar-free-gluten-free-low-oil/

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know if you made these cookies and if you were successful!

Thank you guys so much!

Alicia

fergus coffee adventures

My friend and I were looking for a good brunch spot (you know..the usual weekend brunch routine) and we came across the dainty the little cafe of Fergus Coffee. Located on Wattletree Rd. in Malvern East, the location serves the perfect spot near the bustling Glenferrie Rd. but not too close to the hustle and bustle. To top it all off the spot the courtyard in the back makes this the perfect go-to spot for a nice brunch atmosphere.

 

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the lovely Fergus Coffee staff and we made our way through the cute backpass to the courtyard.

 

At Fergus Coffee my friend had the Acai Bowl (w/ Almond Milk, Berries, Bananas, Chia Seeds, Coconut and Strawberries) and the  Acai Smoothie, whilst I had the Hotcakes and the Mango Smoothie (w/ Mango, Coconut Milk, Yogurt and Honey).

 

The Hotcakes were the show stealer. The warm hotcakes and the cold ice-cream served on top was a perfect temperature balance. Perfect for a warm day! The sweet hotcakes were balanced by the tart and flavour of the berries and the freeze-dried raspberries. They tasted exactly like cake batter and the presentation was amazing (#aestheticfood goals).

The Mango Smoothie was my favourite of the two smoothies. It wasn’t too sickly sweet but not too sour. I love the underlying flavours of the coconut and the honey tied the drink together. The perfect tropical smoothie combination! The Acai wasn’t bad either but a bit on the sour side. However, it was still a great smoothie!

The Acai Bowl was great! The presentation of the dish on the wooden board and the fruits laid on top made it beautiful. However, the taste wasn’t anything original. I couldn’t really taste the acai and there was an overpowering taste of banana.

Overall, we had a great experience and brunch session at Fergus Coffee. I would highly recommend this place if you ever come across this area or if you need a function area because the courtyard is the perfect, spring-like area to have a meeting or a gathering. I’ll definitely come back to have those hotcakes once again! They were delish!

A huge thank you to David for having us that day, we had such a great experience!
Fergus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

night routine essentials

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’ve missed my blog! I’m so sorry for the lack of posts, I was in a bit of a ditch and life has been hectic. However, it’s my goal this year to post more often on here! Anyway, here is my first post of 2018! I’ve been loving my night routine and have a list of essentials I always use before bed! I thought I would share them with you:

good night tea = a good night

I love a good tea and it’s always nice to have a suitable, warm drink before I go to bed every night. I’ve been obsessed with making chai lattes and have one almost every night (yep, I’m obsessed). I love the 90Degrees Tea Blends and I’ve been using them in my teas and chais! Here is my simple recipe for the perfect chai latte:

Chai Latte | Vegan | Sugar-Free

Chai Latte | Vegan | Sugar-Free

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp of honey (1.5 tbsp when I’m feeling extra sweet)
  • 90Degrees Tea Chai Blend
  • 1 cup of dairy-free milk (I love using coconut milk)

Instructions

  1. Brew 90Degrees Tea Chai Blend for 3-5minutes at 98C.
  2. Once brewed, add half of the milk.
  3. Mix honey into blend.
  4. Top with the rest of the milk.
  5. Enjoy!
http://byaliciagrace.com/night-routine-essentials/

I have also been loving 90Degree’s Night blend which is perfect for when I’m feeling lazy or need to rush to bed!

be more grateful: gratitude journal

One of my goals this year is to be more grateful and thankful for the moments, things and people I have in my life and I bought this super adorable gratitude journal from Kikki K. Every night I write three things I’m grateful for and why. It honestly (this will sound really cheesy) makes the world of a difference. It helps me to slow and calm myself down when I’m having one of those days where my mind is racing and it also reminds me of the blessings I have in my life. 

a little bit of self lovin’ with OLD: Optimal Living Daily Podcast

I was never a podcast person until this year. I’ve been really into listening and reading self-help and motivational books but sometimes I’m just too busy to read. I try my best to squeeze in a little bit of self motivation every day and so every night I listen to one of these short podcasts. I love these podcasts because they are not only short but super motivating and insightful. I listen to it on my Spotify every night right before bed and it helps me to calm my mind and get me pumped for the next day! If you are looking for a good podcast, I would definitely recommend starting with this one.

treat yourself and your skin!  Face mask: bare & be

A face mask is always a must for one of those nights where you just need to rest and rejuvenate. I’ve been wanting to experiment with more Korean face masks and I found this website, Bare and Be where they have a really extensive range of face masks from Korea. It’s so hard to find good Korean skin care here and Bare and Be is great for finding good quality masks! I’ve been using the Wrapping Me. Firming Sauna Mask by Make p:rem, it’s my fav! I love the HYGGEE masks too! ==

Get Comfy w/ PJs

You can’t go to sleep without a nice set of PJs! I’ve been obsessed with my two sets of PJs from Rose Blanc. They are so simple yet elegant and not to mention they are super soft. My personal favourite is the blue one!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and maybe even start using some of my own essentials! Let me know what your night time essentials are in the comments!

Lots of love,

Alicia

Caramel Hearts by E.R. Murray Guest Post + Mini Reviews

caramel-hearts

Hello!!

I recently finished E.R. Murray’s Caramel Hearts and I have such an action packed post for this novel. E.R. Murray will be guest posting today and I’ll also be featuring a mini review. Have you read Caramel Hearts yet?

dsc_0331_fotorTitle: Caramel Hearts
Author: E.R. Murray
Release Date: May 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Retail Price: $16.99
Overall Rating:  7/10
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance

E.R. Murray’s Caramel Hearts was exactly like salted caramel- sweet with a tinge of salt. This novel was such an adorable read but it was also filled with a roller coaster of an adventure. I’ll admit it took me a while to get through but upon finishing the book I realised that this book was actually a pretty fun read. The character development was one of the highlights of the book, I love seeing how Olivia “bloomed” from this young, immature 14-year-old to one who had become more mature and had a grip on reality.

However, something that did let me down was how annoying the main character was at times. I know that it was part of the plot to do so but at times I was really pulling my hair out. 🙂 Some of the actions and thought processes she went through reminded me of a spoilt little girl. Nevertheless, her development was really something I enjoyed reading.

I also love the idea of integrating sweet, desert recipes! I thought that was so cute and I loved reading about how Olivia bakes them and also reading the delicious recipes in general! I thought what made this novel so different was the fact that it dragged me into this life I have never explored before. The Bloom family had its issues and reading it from a younger perspective really made me realise the effects  addiction and bullying had on a child. Overall, I thought Caramel Hearts was an easy read filled with sweetness but had undertones of serious and important themes.

book + song:

guest post from the author of caramel hearts: e.r. murray

Favourite Caramel Recipe

I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I do love salted caramel – in ice cream or truffle form. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for either, so I’ll have to go with my Caramel Hearts recipe from my book. They’re spongy & gooey & tasty & versatile, so they can be made cupcake-style instead if you prefer! Scroll down for the recipe:

Advice for high school teens

Ooh, this is a tough one… I wrote Caramel Hearts because I wanted to explore certain issues; bullying, the effects of addiction on a family unit, sibling relationships, poverty and friendships. These are all issues that affect us throughout our lives, but what we experience as teens burns brighter, deeper, more destructively. I think one of the main reasons is that as a teenager, we’re ready for our voices to be heard, but very few people are willing to listen. And so, the advice I’m giving is what I wish someone told my teenage self …

You’re not alone: whatever you’re feeling – be it tired, stressed, embarrassed, angry, ugly, pressured, unloved, friendless, fake, mortified, helpless, horny, bullied, misunderstood, disgusted, crazed – trust me, there’s someone nearby that’s feeling the same. It’s just that no one will admit it, because they’re too busy trying to deal with whatever it is they’re going through.

Dare to dream: seriously – dream big. If you love art, think about where it can lead. If sport is your thing, go for it. Want to write a book? Do it! I was a grade A student in a rough area and I remember being told I could aspire to working in a supermarket! I’ve travelled the world (there’s still more to see) and now I write books! So dream big – then make it happen. The path might not be easy, but it’ll be your own.

Hope is your weapon. If you have hope, you have a way out. Hope gives you wings – it means you can see another way, something to reach for, something to strive for – and when you get there, you’ll enjoy it all the more because you and you alone managed to get there.

Help others: in any small way you can and you’ll find you’re probably helping yourself too. We all know what it feels like to be on the periphery, or even too much in the centre of attention at times – if you see someone struggling, go help. Just a kind word or a smile or helping them move away from an uncomfortable situation can be enough.

Do it your way: adults think they have all the answers, but inside, they’re still just as uncertain and messy. If you have an idea, you go for it. It’s called progress. You’re the future.

These days will end: If you’re having an awful time, school is not the rest of your life. It is a part of your life for a small(ish) period of time, though it may not feel that way right now. Once school is over, you never have to see those people or think about it again – it can only follow you afterwards if you let it.

To learn more about E.R. Murray visit her website www.ermurray.com or connect with her on twitter @ERMurray or instagram elizabethrosemurray.

Caramel Hearts Recipe

No matter how spiky people seem, they’re always softer on the inside than you expect. Melt even the coldest of hearts with these golden, caramel treats and wipe your tears away.

Ingredients:

125 g/41⁄2 oz golden butter

125 g/41⁄2 oz light brown sugar

150 g/51⁄2 oz self-raising flour

2 eggs

1⁄2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sweet vanilla extract

70 g/2 1⁄2 oz of your favourite nuts (pecans, almonds or hazelnuts are best), finely chopped

For the ‘Salty Tears’ Caramel Sauce

200 g/7 oz caster sugar

70 ml/2 1⁄2 fl oz water

50 g/2 oz butter

150 ml/5 1⁄2 fl oz double cream

tsp chunky sea salt

 

How to Make the Magic Happen

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 oC/350 oF/Gas mark 4. Place all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat rapidly until well combined and creamy (plenty of elbow grease required).
  2. Line a baking tray with silicone heart-shaped cases and split the mixture equally between them. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
  3. Now make the caramel sauce and wash those tears away. Add the sugar, salt and water to a small pan and place over a gentle heat. Stir occasionally until all of the sugar and salt has melted.
  4. Turn up the heat and keep watch as the mixture boils – stir constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. After 8–10 minutes, the mixture will thicken and turn a pale almond brown.
  5. Remove from the heat and carefully add the butter and cream. Return to the heat, stir, and as soon as the sauce thickens, pour lashings of it over the heart-shaped cake and serve to whichever prickly person you need to soothe.

Thank you so much to E.R. Murray for guest posting on my blog today! I really enjoyed her novel and if you haven’t read it yet, you have to give it a try!

#lovebooks

 

 

July Obsessions and August Excitement

 dqkwq

Currently feeling: extremely motivated

sayonara july

Okay so maybe July hasn’t been the best of months. First of all, the winter has been icy cold which has caused me to feel like a freezing block of ice. My self-confidence has been wavering in and out this whole month, which has caused a lack of motivation in many different things, including reading and blogging. I know I mentioned this a little in my previous monthly wrap-up but this month I really felt my lack of motivation and enthusiasm weighing in. To me, everything felt like a blur because I felt like I was going through the same routine every day. However this month I’ve learnt a fair few lessons in life and because of that I decided to write a post on it which will be out soon! 🙂 How has your July been?

obsessions:

Music:

Has anyone else realised that there are no good songs on the radio lately? Ugh. It’s so annoying because I love listening to the radio but there is never a good song. Nevertheless, I have to resort to my Spotify (not that that’s a bad thing)! Here are my latest favourite tracks!

Healthy Cooking:

I’ve been “healthy-cooking” for a long time now but I’ve only just realised how much fun it is to create something that is guilt-free. I love cooking healthy muffins and cookies and in the morning one of my favourite things to cook are healthy pancakes and oatmeal. Oh and let’s not forget smoothies and toasts. I think it is safe to say that breakfast is now my absolute favourite meal because I love getting up in the morning and cooking something that is simple, delicious and healthy.

For lunches, salads and rice bowls have been a go-to for me. I have to try to cook my lunches so that they are still fresh and delicious during lunchtime.

 

 

 

Film Photography

This semester I took up a photography elective but it isn’t about the normal digital photography. Instead, we have been working with film photography and it is surprisingly a lot of fun. I’ve been taking a trip back in time with one of my best friends and we have been shooting with an old film camera. I was born around the time film photography was starting to get less and less popular, which means I haven’t had a chance to use a film camera. I would love to show you how the photos have turned out but unfortunately, we are still processing the photos. When I get the photos I’ll try to share some with you guys.

 

reading updates

DSC_0357_Fotor

*inserts a large photo of the embarrassed monkey* I haven’t been reading much and it has been frustrating me so much. I’m still reading The Girl From Everywhere! I think it has been because I’ve been lately recently but also I’ll confess: Gossip Girl has captured my attention. It is just so so good! I honestly just want to devour the whole entire show so I can know what is next. My heart feels like it has been on a roller coaster with this TV show! With August comes new releases and the moment Beauty of Darkness comes out I will hole myself up in my room to read it. I’m also going to a Rainbow Rowell and David Leviathan event with some of my good friends and hopefully, that will get me in a motivated reading mood.

august excitement

It’s getting to that time of the year where even though, everything will be so hectic, you know that it’ll be the best few months of the year. I am so so excited for the things I have planned in August. Next weekend I’m going to the Selena Gomez Revival Tour with my best friend and words can not describe my eagerness. I’ve never been to a concert and to know that I’m going to one of my favourite artist’s concert with my best friend is the most exciting thing ever! Alongside that, I’m also going to be doing some exciting excursions and experience weeks with the school which is something I always look forward too.

book #tbr:

I did recently write a post on my TBR but I thought I would specify some of the books I want to read this month:

I hope you guys had a great July and an even better August? What have been some of your obsessions in July?

#lovebooks