One bowl triple-chocolate brownie recipe

Are you ready for the only brownie recipe you will ever need? Because let me tell you my friends, THIS.IS.IT! There’s a time and place for ingredient restrictions, and calorie reduction… that time is not now. Diet culture has made us feel bad about our cravings, geez we’re humans. Sometimes we want chocolate, and chocolate is what we must have. Not a cardboard tasting substitute that only makes you crave the real thing more. So if you’re in the mood for something decadent, delicious AND easy, here’s the recipe you were looking for! The best part is the washing up is very minimal!

This recipe took place in one bowl which lends to its appeal because 9/10, I don’t bake because of the clean-up. 🧼 🧽 This recipe will give you yummy fudgy brownies that are as great the next day as they are when you first make them!

INGREDIENTS:
240g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoon coconut 🥥 oil
260g white sugar
200g muscovado OR light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
130g all purpose flour
100g unsweetened cocoa powder
200g roughly chopped chocolate, 3 different varieties are very important for this recipe (I probably used more because I didn’t like the eating quality of the vegan chocolate but in the brownies they’re delicious! *chef’s kiss*)

Look at those yummy pieces of chocolate 🤤

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 180°C
Lightly grease a baking pan. Line with baking paper and set aside.
Combine melted butter, oil and sugars together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine. If you have a handheld mixer, your ways shall be made straight 😂 Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until lighter in colour (another minute).
Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt over the bowl with your egg, sugar + butter mix. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined.
Fold in all of the chocolate.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top out.
Bake for 25-30 minutes for or until the centre of the brownies are JUST set to the touch.

You can sub coconut 🥥 oil for any other oil EXCEPT olive oil which belongs in salads but not brownies 😂

Everything, Everything

I’ve been itching to write this post from the minute I left Cape Town. If ever there was a time I wish time machines were real, this trip is it! There isn’t a single moment of this trip that wasn’t perfect and filled with so many beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

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This trip was the first to the Mother City that didn’t involve work. Previously I worked as the product and brand trainer for Lush SA, and my trips to the Cape involved lovely store visits but sadly very minimal beach time. So when my SO* and I planned this holiday about 3 months in advance, to say I was excited is a massive understatement. There isn’t much that can rival uninterrupted time with my heart’s best friend. I will gladly follow this man anywhere and luckily for me, he asked me to follow him to Cape Town. My dreamy man got there two days before I did which gave him time to do a little bit of exploring on his own, although I think he had heaps more fun when I got there.

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For accommodation, high up on my list of priorities was cleanliness. This was my/our first time using AirBnb and I was nervous as to whether what was advertised would be what was given to us.  The first apartment we stayed in was clean but bare in terms of how it had been decorated. We had to leave after a series of unfortunate, and maybe just unlucky incidents. The remainder of our stay was spent at a quirky studio at Holyrood, a bubblegum pink building that was built in 1939. I wish I had taken more pictures of the building but I was too busy staring at the boy. One thing that did make the boyfie and I chuckle was the description on the AirBnb page;Loved by travelers from United Kingdom · 100% of guests from United Kingdom who stayed here recently gave this home a 5-star rating.’ And as luck would have it, the boy (who is from the UK,) really loved it. 

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The apartment though quaint, quirky and with a few questionable paintings which we temporarily took down, was clean, cosy, and had ridiculously beautiful views of Table Mountain. The view (and the company,) made it worth it. It was also positioned not too far away from Long Street which is famous for its restaurants and cafés. Across the street was the Company Garden’s which again just added to the magic of this holiday.

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I am a simple girl; give me food, love, water and I’m okay. During this holiday, the boy gave me all of this and more. Being together is probably what has made Cape Town our favorite city. We did a lot of eating and while we had both planned to do some running while on holiday, only one of us managed a 4k run…SPOILER ALERT!!! It wasn’t him. The lack of exercise aside, this was thee most perfect holiday I have ever had and I’d gladly do it again. I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m going to be a soppy, corny mess for the rest of my life because I’ve truly found the one that makes my heart happiest. There wasn’t a single day that I didn’t wake up feeling like I’d won the jackpot…#blessed! I’ve never laughed as much as I did on this trip, smiled wholeheartedly and have been so relaxed. I don’t take it for granted that I’ve found the mirror image of my soul. He’s perfect for me in every single way.

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The boy and I had a great time in Cape Town getting to know each other and yes, as I mentioned before, a lot of eating! As much as we tried to keep our choice of restaurants varied, we kept going back to one place: Stacked Diner. This place is in my opinion Cape Town’s best kept secret. I’m giving myself full credit for having discovered it but I’m almost certain that it was the boy who found it. He has a knack for finding gems 😉 The only thing I was interested in was that they serve breakfast all day, what could be better than that?

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The first time we went, the boy ordered waffles with maple syrup and bananas, along with French toast. I ordered their buttermilk flapjacks with bananas and caramel sauce. Nine times out of ten, I much preferred what the boy had ordered. In fact, throughout this trip, everything that he ordered was way better than mine…except for the night that he had loads of garlic on his pizza. We went back to Stacked not once, not twice but three times. We definitely would have gone back if we had more time.

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The saddest part of this trip was of course the end of it. SO lives in the UK and to go from seeing him everyday to not being able to hold his hand sucks. The reason why long distance relationships are hard is because you’re so far away from the person your heart enjoys and loves best. It’s a bittersweet feeling to be so happy to have found the person I’m going to spend forever with, yet in the interim not being able to physically be with him is painful. The Uber ride to the airport was painful and while there’s the knowing that this isn’t the last time you’ll see each other, there’s also the pain of separation that taints that moment. I spent a good chunk of my time before flying back to Jo’burg crying like a baby. A couple of days later, I’m still not getting much sleep and I miss him terribly.

I sent this to the boy because I was bored…

Aside from Jesus (that’s an obvious one right,) there isn’t another soul that knows me as well as the boy does. He is the kindest, most funniest and caring person I have ever known. I intended to write this post about my trip to Cape Town but I honestly can’t help myself from gushing about this human who seems to have been so perfectly made for me. The bonus is that he is also ridiculously good looking, I could stare at him all day…does that sound creepy? After my sister passed away I didn’t think I’d ever be happy again. My sister was my best friend and the thought of doing life without her is still a painful thought. My SO did the best he could do to lift my spirits and even when I was snappy, unreasonable, PMS-ey, he was always understanding. As much as I felt my faith in God dwindling, somehow by having this yummy man in my life, I feel a wholeness being restored in my soul. A peace and calm that I haven’t felt in a long time. A peace and calm I wasn’t sure I’d ever feel again.

And then he sent this in return, I love this man so much!

There are so many songs that make me think of him but lately there’s one by Lianne La Havas that has been on repeat every single day.

I love you so much baby, your eyes hold everything.

*SO = significant other

You Don’t Know Guac

In the past six months I have begun a process of reintroducing animal protein into my diet. No matter how clean I was eating, no matter how many juices or smoothies, there would always be this lingering feeling of tiredness, coupled with training, I could no longer ignore the fact that unfortunately my plant-based diet wasn’t doing me any favours. I’m exploring how sticking to a mostly paleo diet will benefit not only my training but my well-being. The other day I got home and wanted a potato salad but of course most potato salads are laden with mayonnaise, swimming in the stuff and I hate that. I want to see if I could make a dressing that would deliver on taste and perhaps even add nutrient value to my salad.

Introducing my guac dressing!

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I love avocados, how I fell in love with a man who doesn’t, I will never understand. This dressing is simple, takes less than 10 minutes to make and if you’re partial to avos, is also super yummy! Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 large avo, flesh scooped out
– The juice of 1 lemon
– ½ teaspoon of garlic
– A glug of olive oil (or any oil that you prefer the taste of)
– Salt and pepper to taste
Place all your ingredients except for the oil in your blender and add a tablespoon or two of water to get the churning started. With the motor still running, start pouring in your olive oil for a smoother consistency as well as more of a dressing as opposed to dip texture. Once you’ve got a consistency you’re happy with stop and place the whole thing in a jar.
This keeps for a week refrigerated and in my experience works best with fish and seafood. In my salad, I will confess to it being horrible, although that may have also been due to not cooking the potatoes properly and encountering ridiculous chunk of raw potato. Not at all appetising.
This will be my go to until it runs out and then I’ll move on to something new. Do you have a favourite salad dressing recipe or are you a shop bought kinda gal/guy?

The Truth About Oreo’s

Every girl and boy, their mama, grandmothers and even their grandpapi’s, know that I looooooooove Oreo’s. My nickname is Oreo. I am a walking Oreo, just as sweet and D-LICIOUS, confession: I have always wanted to spell delicious like that!

Oreo’s are the easiest thing anyone can use to buy my friendship/my love/my allegiance and undying loyalty. Need me to hide a body for you? Oreo’s. Need me to donate a kidney? Oreo’s!

Oreo’s are the answer to everything!

‘Hey Oreo, would you like an Oreo?’

Me: ‘FORRRRRR SURRRREEEEEE you crazy cat!

Who says no to Oreo’s? Usually… NOT THIS GIRL!

Oreo’s moved from being something that I would have as a cheat, or if I had been exceptionally good (i.e. the perfect instagram vegan: juicing her kale, eating her bananas, dicing her pumpkins, you get the point!) to then over time as the addiction grew, Oreo’s simply became a part of my every day life, now that I think of it…there was a study done by Conneticut College stating that Oreo’s are as addictive as cocaine…hmm, must be why no one ever falls out of love with me 🤔

All jokes aside, I like to think of myself as being very ethically aware. In fact, ethics and my concern of this lack of ethics especially when it comes to the food we consume, was one of the motivating factors behind my decision to switch to a 100% plantbased i.e. vegan lifestyle, (can you guess who celebrated 3 years of veganism on the 18th??? THISSSS GIRL!!!)

Being plantbased presents with it a few challenges, I’ve often had people ask me what I have as a cheat meal and it’s usually bread. Boy do I love my carbs, I like to think bread is the reason why my legs are so strong, now about that strength travelling all the way up to my arms so that they too can be as strong as they look… All the vegan chocolate that I’ve tried thus far, still leaves me wanting for more, so Oreo’s (aside from the little disclaimer that states they’re produced in a factory that handles milk and eggs,) were the closest I could get to a cheat meal.

This morning I’m clearing out my emails (which was about as overdue as the 3 weeks of laundry that I still have to do,) when I opened this email from Crush Mag Online which speaks about the devastating effects that the harvesting of palm oil has on the environment. About a year ago, I started working for LUSH SA as their regional trainer, and with that comes training staff on sustainability and ethical buying practices that the brand employs when it comes to sourcing of natural ingredients. One of those that popped up a few months ago, and again today, was palm oil.

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the palm fruit. Although these trees originate from Western Africa, they can pretty much flourish wherever heat and rainfall are plentiful! 85% of all palm oil obtained globally is produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia and most of the time using methods that aren’t sustainable. The palm oil industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production.

The lack of sustainable and ethically sound harvesting methods is causing thousands of animals to lose their natural habitat and in turn removing the biodiversity that exists (or used to exist in these countries.) This means that indirectly we’re removing from the enviroment the ability that forests have to capture the carbon that is causing climate change and in turn we see an increase in soil erosion, smoke air pollution (due to the fires used to clear these forests.)

So what’s the fuss about palm oil and why should we all embark on this 28 day challenge that Say No To Palm Oil, has created?

As stated above, palm oil is everywhere, and because it is so widely used and the popular choice amongst manufacturers, the harvesting of palm oil will continue to fuel deforestation. As consumers, the power is in our hands (whether we realise it or not,) and although avoiding all products that contain palm oil is only one half of the solution, (to find alternative sources would require more land and potentially introduce unsustainable methods of development.) Unless a company can validate that they’ve obtained their palm oil through sustainable methods (which unfortunately most don’t want to expose their unethical sourcing,) it’s time we stop supporting these companies, and minimizing as much as we can, the purchasing of products that contain palm oil.

This handy list (which is super easy to print,) gives you the legal names used for palm oil, and sadly my beloved Oreo’s contain palm oil, so guess who’s kissing them goodbye? This girl. Carry this list with you when in doubt and for those of you aiming to be ethically aware consumers, this list will help you when you’re trying to figure out whether your favourite cookies contain palm oil. Every little bit helps.

  1. Elaeis guineensis
  2. Etyl palmitate
  3. Glyceryl
  4. Hydrogenated palm glycerides
  5. Octyl palmitate
  6. Palm fruit oil
  7. Palm kernel
  8. Palm kernel oil
  9. Palm stearine
  10. Palmate
  11. Palmitate
  12. Palmitic acid
  13. Palmitoyl oxostearamide
  14. Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3
  15. Palmityl alcohol
  16. Palmolein
  17. Sodium kernelate
  18. Sodium laureth sulfate
  19. Sodium lauryl lactylate/sulphate
  20. Sodium lauryl sulfate
  21. Sodium palm kernelate
  22. Stearate
  23. Stearic acid
  24. Vegetable fat
  25. Vegetable oil

Greenpeace have these beautiful pictures of the Orangutans and the Sumatran tigers that lose their homes due to the deforestation caused by high demand of palm oil. These pictures for me were enough to convince me that I will no longer buy Oreo’s. On the plus side, at least I’ll have .5% less junk in my trunk and maybe my running will get faster because I will be .5% less weighed down by the booty! 😂

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Keen for more info? Want to check the facts for yourself? Here’s some great resource: saynotopalmoil.com | mongabay.com | greenpeace.org |whatispalmoil.weebly.com 

Sundried tomato pasta salad

You’ll need:
-500g pasta (I used fusilli, but any pasta is fine)
-Sundried tomato quarters
-500g brown lentils
-Vegetable stock
-Fry’s chunky strips (2 boxes)
-Stir fry mix of green beans, red cabbage, julienne carrots, red peppers and cut baby corn)

For the sundried tomato and black salt dressing:

-Vegan mayonnaise (I used B well canola mayonnaise)
-Half the liquid from the sun dried tomatoes
-Black natural sea salt

METHOD

In a big pot, pour about 750ml of water, add in about 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a fierce boil and then add in your pasta. Once your pasta is cooked, drain your pasta and keep half of the water. Put the pasta aside. In the remaining pasta fluid, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable stock and the 500g of brown lentils, you might have to add a little bit more water as it cooks, although I like my lentils on the al dente side. I haaaate mushy lentils!!! While that’s cooking (it takes roughly around 20 Minutes,) using kitchen scissors, cut your sun dried tomatoes into bite size chunks and add it to your pasta, don’t forget to keep half of the fluid that the sun dried tomatoes came in. Once the lentils are cooked, add it to your pasta, draining some of the cooking fluid to be used later.

Get a pan and add in sunflower oil. Once the pan is nice and hot, add the Fry’s chunky strips and get some browning on them. When that’s done, add the leftover fluid from the lentils and allow the strips to soften. Add in your stir fry veggie mix and cook for 10 minutes. Place all the ingredients into a massive mixing container…I have Congolese heritage, so we always seem to have these lying around. You’d swear we have a catering company…

To make the sundried tomato and black salt dressing:
Mix 4 tablespoons of vegan mayo with the reserve fluid from the sundried tomatoes and mix well with a fork. Then add a tablespoon of black natural sea salt and stir through. This dressing is the perfect amount to coat the pasta without making it too creamy. Pour the dressing over your salad and stir though.

This salad is perfect warm or cold. The addition of the brown lentils and the Fry’s strips answers the question of where vegans get their protein from. Pasta is ALWAYS a great idea! It also makes this salad very filling and perfect for taking to braais, or barbecues if you’re in a country other than South Africa.

Plum & Basil Sandwich

This is one of my favourite sandwiches to have. Sometimes if I’m feeling lazy to cook, this sandwich is awesome because it fills me up without making me feel like I’m going to explode.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 slices of rye bread

1 plum (stone removed and sliced)

1 tablespoon of tahini

Fry’s chunky strips

A handful of basil leaves

Cherry tomatoes

It’s pretty straight-forward, everyone knows how to make a sandwich, you just throw everything together. The plums are an interesting addition because you’d think, they might not work but they add a sweetness to the sandwich without it feeling overwhelming or tasting weird. Tomato and basil has always been one of my favourite combinations. In fact I try to eat tomatoes in almost every sandwich I make because of their anti-carcinogenic effects. This is a sandwich that packs nutrition and delivers on taste, at the end of the day, when we eat, our goal should be to fuel our body on quality so that it performs better.

What are some of your favourite sandwich combinations?