Top Paddock

Conveniently located outside the building I’m interning at, Top Paddock is my go-to coffee place in Richmond, and so much more.

Firstly (and clearly the most important factor), the coffee is fab. It’s a little pricey, but quite normal for the area, and definitely worth it!

When you first walk in, the cafe has a ‘to-go’ counter from which you can satiate your caffeine cravings. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, grab one of the little treats (vegan options, obvi) to take with you!

The rest of the large space is for dining in, with extra tables outside for sunny days (or those brave enough to face the winter chill). Your mouth will quite literally water when reading the ‘eat in’ menu, but if you don’t want to face the ever-present crowd of Melbournites that flock to the cafe, the take away options are equally amazing!

— Daisy xx

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Wild Yam Cafe

With an overwhelming selection of mouth-watering eats to choose from, there’s no way you can leave Wild Yam with anything but a full belly and beaming smile.

What can I say? The service is top notch and the food, oh the food… your taste buds will go to foodie heaven! You’re sure to get a ridic amount of satisfaction for a great price – from salads to warming curries, you’ll be filled with goodness! Now you know I love my veggie burgers and fries as much as the next girl, but when it comes to the nitty gritty, there’s really no substitute for healthy, wholesome food.

If you’re still wondering what sets Wild Yam apart – two words: coconut ice-cream. Y E S. Buy it, love it, thank me later! And of course, they’ve got a bunch of other goodies for sale too… so don’t walk, run, to Wild Yam Cafe in Mordialloc (you won’t regret it).

— Daisy xx

Soul Press

This cute hole-in-the-wall space is one of my new found loves.

The Edithvale health hot spot is the perfect place for your post-yoga brunch with the girls. Not only has it got the most amaze juices, smoothies and acai bowls, it also doubles as a health food store – win! You can nourish on the spot, then stock up on some goodies for later.

You’ll find the fridge packed with raw treats and salads, while the walls are lined with all your faves (think: Pana Chocolate, Loving Earth, Eco Tan, and the popular Beach People roundie towels).

Located on Nepean Highway, it’s super easy to get to by car or train – it’s just across from the station! – so you’ve got no excuses for skipping brekky on your way to work or uni.

— Daisy xx

Pana Chocolate Shop

Pana Chocolate. Noun.
1. A food in the form of a solid block, handmade with raw and organic ingredients; predominantly raw cacao. 2. A place, state, experience, and tangible source of supreme bliss.
Synonyms. Confectionary, dessert, heaven, joy, ecstasy, delight, cloud nine, perfection.

You get the idea! In case you missed my review of the Pana Chocolate bars, Pana is a healthy and conscious brand of chocolate that satisfies all of my sweet cravings. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that they had opened a dessert shop.

In Melbourne.

Somewhere I can actually travel to by train; only 15 minutes from my university (woo hoo!).

Walking into Pana Chocolate for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the stunning simplicity of the place. White walls and light colours give a positive vibe, and the space is small in a way that makes it feel cozy and personal. The intimate setting is reinforced by the small bench parallel to the street-facing window – with only a few bar stools, it’s a far cry from the typical over-crowded café.

As for the treats… there’s a small cabinet full of delicious chocolate creations to choose from, hot cacao with almond milk in a glass urn, and walls lined with beautiful ingredients available for purchase (to name a few). The selection in the cabinet has a few staples, but the raw cheesecakes are always changing – in case you need another reason to return!

Prices range from around $3 for the smaller truffles, up to about $8 for the cheesecakes. They’re kind of pricey for the size, but in my opinion definitely worth it for the taste and quality. All of the yummy desserts can be packed up into a little take-away box for you to enjoy later on (or on the train home, if you’re anything like me!).

They also make celebration cakes to order… you can choose from their set range, or request a new combination. Small cakes (four serves) are $29, medium cakes (8-10 serves) are $50, and large cakes (16-20 serves) are $95. Again, while this sounds expensive, I think it’s reasonable given the quality of the ingredients and cake itself.

Visit the dessert shop at 491 Church Street, Richmond, Victoria 3121. For more mouth-watering visuals of what they have to offer, check out their Instagram page!

— Daisy xx

 

A Vespa Wheel (raw wagon wheel), Mango Ganache, Raw Brownie & Raw Lamington.

Mint Chocolate, Pear and Goji Ganache, Raw Snickers, Hazelnut Truffle (raw Ferrero Rocher), Vespa Wheel & Mini Cheesecake Pop.

Small cakes – Chocolate & White Choc and Raspberry.

 

Pana Chocolate Bars

The bar that started it all.

The bar that started it all.

Let’s be honest… the one thing that scared me the most about starting a healthier lifestyle was the thought of giving up chocolate.

I’ve always been a ‘sweet tooth’ type of girl – at parties I would go straight for the lollies and cakes instead of the potato chips and party pies – and while I definitely didn’t eat chocolate on a regular basis, I would occasionally get cravings for it (strong ones!). So the thought of having to deny myself those cravings… well, I knew it was going to be a legitimate struggle.

And then, (cue joyous music) I discovered Pana.

Pana Chocolate is raw, organic and handmade in Melbourne. It’s also gluten free, refined sugar free, soy free, low GI and vegan. It is a literal answer to my prayers and music to my ears – zero exaggeration.

Made with the purest of ingredients such as raw cacao and coconut oil, it’s the same indulgent treat I’ve always loved, but with real health benefits and no icky feelings afterwards. And dare I say it; I actually think it tastes better! Yes, it’s super rich (because cacao is chocolate at its purest form), but if you like dark chocolate then it’s not too far of a stretch. Other raw chocolate I’ve tried has been more bitter and almost chalky or dry, but Pana truly melts in your mouth! In my opinion, it doesn’t taste like it’s good for you, meaning it fully satisfies all cravings.

The chocolate comes in a number of different flavours: Raw Cacao, Cinnamon, Fig + Wild Orange, Mint, Coconut + Goji, Nuts, Sour Cherry + Vanilla, Orange, Rose, and Eighty (which is 80% cacao). According to founder and creator Pana Barbounis, Coconut + Goji is their most popular variation – it was also the bar that started my personal love affair with the brand! Since then I’ve tried Fig + Wild Orange, Orange (not much difference between those two), Mint, and Sour Cherry + Vanilla… all of which I seriously adore. From what I can tell, you really can’t go wrong with Pana.

The bars can be bought from most health food stores and the Pana website for $6.50, but if you’re lucky you may find some on sale (heads up for Melbournites – the discount health shop on Swanston St. sells them for $4.95!).

If you’ve never heard of Pana before… you’re welcome! Now you can go get your chocolate fix – and actually feel good about it!

— Daisy xx

Sour Cherry + Vanilla.

Sour Cherry + Vanilla.

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Mint – just like a choc-mint ice cream.

Ground Organics Cafe

Source: Ground Organics (click photo to open)

Source: Ground Organics (click photo to open)

Good food and even better weather… could your local cafe get any better than this?!

As you step into this beach-side cafe and take in the rustic and authentic vibe, it’s easy to see the passion for health and happiness that inspired its creation.

Located in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, the beautiful beach views only metres away make Ground Organics even more inviting. Although I visited in winter, I was lucky enough to experience the cafe under a beautiful blue sky – yet with the genuine warmth of those who work at the cafe and its peaceful ambiance, I imagine it would be equally as enjoyable at any time of the year.

The menu is FAB, providing healthy and organic options for all kinds of dietary needs (think vegan, gluten free, raw and paleo). When I saw that they had an entire page just for smoothies, I felt like I had died and gone to healthy foodie heaven! Throw into the mix great coffee, cold pressed juices and raw cakes, and you have a selection so delicious it’s almost too good to be true.

A variety of inspiring and educational books and DVDs (some for sale and some for leisure) add to the atmosphere of Ground, as does their range of natural beauty products also available for purchase. And to top it all off, the cafe hosts regular screenings of documentaries focused on health, happiness and wellbeing that will really get you thinking about yourself and the world in a new way.

If Ground Organics was my local cafe, I would go every day! Definitely one to visit if you’re ever on the Sunshine Coast.

— Daisy xx

The to-die-for menu.

Ground’s ‘Cleanse’ green juice and a dirty chai with almond milk. Coffee note: you have the power to manifest what you dream of.

The ‘Vitality’ green juice and delicious vegan Amazonian Acai.

A raw vegan tiramisu and a ‘Longevity’ super smoothie. Smoothie note: can I embrace sadness as much as joy?

Find out more about Ground Organics on their website, Facebook page or Instagram account.

Peanut Butter & Banana Cups

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These super sweet, melt in your mouth chocolate cups are not only delicious, but good for you!

The cacao powder used in this recipe is raw and organic, high in antioxidants and minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium. This makes it great for your skin, heart and muscles. It’s also known to be a mood enhancer and aphrodisiac!

Coconut oil is heat stable, so when used in cooking it doesn’t lose its nutrients. As a medium-chain fatty acid, it helps to reduce heart disease, improve circulation and insulin sensitivity, and increase metabolic rate – i.e. more energy for the brain and body, actually helping you to lose weight! In case that wasn’t enough, it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties are found to boost the immune system, providing relief for those with digestive/stomach conditions such as IBS, reflux, and joint/muscle inflammation.

As for the rest of the ingredients: maple syrup is a low GI sweetener containing zinc and manganese (great for cholesterol and blood sugar levels), cinnamon also lowers cholesterol and stabilises blood sugar, as well as increasing the metabolism and acting as a digestive tonic, peanuts are high in protein and different minerals (iron & calcium), and bananas are high in potassium (heart, nerves, kidneys and bones), vitamin B6 (blood and immune health), dietary fibre and contain tryptophan (mood-enhancing protein).

The crazy health benefits of this delightful treat mean that you really can feel good about eating dessert!

Ingredients:
(makes 6)

– 3 tbsp. coconut oil (solid)
– 1 heaped tbsp. cacao powder
– 1 1/2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
– 1 tsp. cinnamon
– 1 banana
– 1 tbsp. peanut butter

Method:
1. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stove.
2. Add cacao powder, maple syrup and cinnamon, and mix well (if you melt the oil on a stove, remove from heat first).
3. Spoon a tbsp. of the chocolate mixture into moulds (I use silicone) and freeze for 5 minutes.
4. Add a thin slice of banana, a tsp. of peanut butter, and cover with more chocolate.
5. Return to freezer until set.

Enjoy!

— Daisy xx

Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream & Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

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Ever dream of having ice cream or cookie dough for breakfast? Well, you can!

Now I know what you’re thinking (Um… what?!). But in all seriousness, you can eat this big bowl of YUM at any time of the day – guilt free!

This recipe will make you feel like you’ve died and gone to foodie heaven. The banana cinnamon ice cream is smooth and creamy; sweet with a hint of warm spice. The peanut butter choc-chip cookie dough is salty, nutty and slightly sweet. Plus, with only a handful of ingredients, it’s super easy to prepare.

The ice cream is fairly self explanatory, but what’s the secret ingredient in the cookie dough?

Chickpeas.

I’m not even kidding.

AND – it’s finger-licking good! I promise you’ll never even notice!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 c. canned chickpeas (salt/sugar free, if possible)
– 2 heaped tbsp. natural peanut butter
– 1 tsp. vanilla powder or extract (optional)
– 2 1/2 tbsp. rice malt syrup (or other sweetener)
– 2 tbsp. coconut yogurt
– 1/3 c. cacao nibs

Method:
1. put chickpeas into a food processor and blend until they create a ‘flour’
2. add vanilla powder and yogurt; blend
3. add the peanut butter and sweetener and blend until smooth
4. if the mixture isn’t smooth enough, add small amounts of non-dairy milk until it creates the desired texture
5. spoon into a bowl and mix in the cacao nibs
6. cover with glad wrap and keep in the fridge until cold
7. serve with your favourite dessert, as a dip with fruit, or eat by the spoonful (I won’t tell!)

Banana Cinnamon Ice Cream

Ingredients:
(serves 1)
– 2 frozen bananas
– 2 tsp. cinnamon (or more, I personally like a lot!)

Method:
1. put the bananas into a blend and blend until creamy
2. add the cinnamon into the blender and fold in with a spoon, then blend until combined
3. spoon into a bowl and top with cookie dough, or whatever your heart desires! I marbled mine with a clean salted caramel sauce from Nicole Joy’s cookbook.

I hope you enjoy this not-so-naughty treat as much as I do!

— Daisy xx

Tropicana Smoothie & The Smoothie Hunter

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Ever wonder how to add the perfect nutritional boost to your breakfast? Now more than ever there are so many super foods and breakfast boosters available to us that it can be hard to know which ones to use and how much!

I recently discovered The Smoothie Hunter on Instagram, and Verity (founder and owner) was kind enough to send me a sample of her product for review.

The Smoothie Hunter is a 100% natural product containing psyllium husk, chia seeds, milled linseed and rice bran. This means that it’s a great source of fibre, protein, omega-3 and calcium… not to mention, vegan and gluten free! You can add it to your smoothies (as the name suggests) or sprinkle it on your breakfast for the perfectly balanced nutritional energy boost. All this goodness comes in a cute resealable paper bag – quick and effortless for a meal in a hurry!

The prices are quite reasonable – $6.95 for 70g, $14.95 for 250g and $25.95 for 500g. The product tastes great on its own but is relatively unnoticeable when blended with something else. Plus it makes smoothies extra thick, which I personally love! I highly recommend The Smoothie Hunter if you’re looking for a superfood that doesn’t make you gag, break your budget or require any extra thought.

The first smoothie I made with The Smoothie Hunter was banana, mango and coconut – and it was pure bliss! Slightly sweet, refreshing and reminiscent of a tropical island, it was exactly what I needed after a long day at work.

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Tropicana Smoothie

Ingredients:
(makes 1)

– 1/2 c. frozen banana pieces
– 1 c. frozen mango pieces
– 2 tbsp. coconut yogurt
– 2 tbsp. The Smoothie Hunter
– 1 tbsp. desiccated coconut
– 1 1/4 c. cold water *

Method:
1. blend all ingredients together, slowly adding water until the smoothie reaches your desired consistency
2. serve cold with sliced banana, flaked coconut and crunchy granola!

* Note: this amount creates a fairly thick smoothie (I ate mine with a spoon!). If you want something thinner, I would try 1 1/2 to 2 cups instead. Alternatively, if you wanted to use the recipe for ice cream, use only 1/2 to 2/3 cups.

You can find The Smoothie Hunter on thesmoothiehunter.bigcartel.com and on Instagram @thesmoothiehunter.

Enjoy!

— Daisy xx

Banana-Berry Protein Smoothie with Granola

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This smoothie is the perfect post-workout breakfast! Not only does it taste ridiculously good, but it’s filled with nutrients to replenish your body.

Before going vegan, I never bought into protein powders because I knew I could easily get protein from natural whole foods. While you can still get protein from a plant-based vegan diet, I think it’s beneficial to have a quick source of protein if you work out frequently.

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After doing my research and spending some serious quality time in the protein aisle of my health food store, I chose to go with the pure pea protein isolate from Protein Supplies Australia. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also gluten free, non-GMO, low GI and has no additives! They also make a rice protein isolate, and sell vanilla and chocolate variations of both proteins (made with natural flavours and stevia). But the best part? You can buy all this goodness for a price that is actually reasonable! I only paid $39.95 for 1kg of pure protein, while many brands charge more than that for 500g of protein and nasty additives! Needless to say, I think I’ve found my perfect protein match.

Granola

Ingredients:
(serves 1)

– 1/3 c. almond milk pulp* (dehydrated in the oven)
– 1/3 c. plain organic multi-puffs
– 1/4 c. cacao nibs
– 2 tbsp. Loving Earth caramelised buckinis
– 2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp. vanilla powder
– 1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil (solid)
– 1 tbsp. sweetener (rice malt/pure maple syrup)

Method:
1. preheat oven to 150C
2. melt coconut oil and honey (separately)
3. mix dry ingredients in a bowl
4. add coconut oil and honey, then mix
5. spread on a lined tray and bake for 20 minutes or until browned
6. make your smoothie while you wait!

*Note: if you don’t have almond milk pulp, you could use gluten-free rolled oats instead.

Banana-Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:
(serves 1)

– 1/2 a large banana
– 2 tbsp. pure strawberry compote (or 3 fresh strawberries)
– 1/3 c. frozen blueberries
– 3 frozen banana chunks
– 1 tsp. mesquite powder
– 1 heaped tbsp. protein powder
– 2 tbsp. psyllium husk
– 1 c. almond milk

Method:
1. blend together banana, berries and milk
2. add dry ingredients and blend again until smooth
3. serve with the other 1/2 banana sliced and granola

Enjoy!

— Daisy xx