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RECIPE: Chocolate Hazelnut Bites

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RECIPE: Chocolate Hazelnut Bites

Folks, we are delighted to share with you another delicious recipe from our healthy treat competition. They were all gorgeous so we thought you could make them too!!! These fantastic Chocolate Hazelnut Bites by Cliona Brennan were our joint winner on the day and they most certainly should not be kept a secret.

“These are so good they taste like you shouldn’t be eating them. Chewy, nutty caramel squares with a dense chocolatey topping; they have been compared to a Ferrero Rocher. Similarities would be the luxurious flavours of the chopped hazelnuts with a rich chocolate taste. When you look a little closer you realise that everything in them is insanely good for you. The three layered bite size treat is easy to make and is ideal for a midday snack or serving with coffee when friends call round.”

INGREDIENTS (Makes 14 bite size portions)

Base:

● 55g quick oats

● 80g medjool dates, pitted

● 1 tbsp coconut oil

● 1 tbsp cocoa powder

● 1/4 tsp salt

Hazelnut caramel filling:

● 180g hazelnuts, roasted

● 1 tbsp coconut oil

● 105g medjool dates, pitted

● 1 tsp vanilla extract

● 1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate topping:

● 100g 70% chocolate, chopped

● 2 tbsp coconut oil

● 100g whole & chopped hazelnuts

METHOD

  1. Prepare a 8'x8” square baking tin with parchment paper on all sides.

  2. Make the base: Put oats in food processor and process into flour. Add medjool dates and pulse until blended. Then add coconut oil, cocoa powder and salt. Pulse until well mixed. Empty the mixture into the lined tin, and use your hands to pack mixture down firmly. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out the mixture. Transfer to freezer while you prepare remaining layers.

  3. Prepare the hazelnut caramel filling: Add the remaining 180g roasted hazelnuts to a food processor, alongside coconut oil. Mix until it forms a smooth nut butter, giving your food processor breaks and scraping down the sides as required. Add dates, vanilla extract and salt. Process until the mixture is blended into a paste. Remove baking tin from freezer, and smooth filling over the base. Use a spatula to press the filling down firmly. Transfer to fridge.

  4. Melt the chocolate topping: In a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan, melt chopped chocolate and coconut oil. Whisk together until smooth. Pour on top of the hazelnut caramel filling. Give the remaining whole hazelnuts a rough chop, then sprinkle on top of the melted chocolate. Place in the fridge until chocolate layer has set (approximately 2-3 hours). Remove and slice into 14 smaller bars.

    Enjoy! We did!

    Thanks. Team Alchemy

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A bit of low-carb science

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A bit of low-carb science

Alchemy founder Domini Kemp, co-author of The Ketogenic Kitchen, wrote this piece recently for EvolveWomen . . .

Let’s just make one thing clear again: There’s no perfect diet for everyone. Although low-carb diets can be incredibly beneficial for many people, this doesn’t imply that all high-carb foods are “bad”. There is no doubt that there are a number of foods high in carbohydrates that have health benefits and that provide lots of essential nutrients, like for instance buckwheat, quinoa, bananas, beetroot, oranges, sweet potatoes, kidney beans or chickpeas. It is the high-carb foods that are refined and processed - like white breads and pastas - that we should try to reduce.

But these benefits can only be reaped if your body actually knows what to do with carbohydrates and can use them efficiently; otherwise carbohydrate-rich foods can wreak more havoc with your body despite all the nutrients. In order to understand how this happens, the role of insulin in the body needs to be explained.

The role of Insulin

Insulin is a crucial hormone; without it, we simply wouldn’t survive. Insulin tells our cells to pick up glucose from the bloodstream if levels become too high. It’s also the “fat storing hormone” that triggers our cells to store energy, either as glycogen (the stored form of glucose) or fat. Dr Robert Lustig, an American paediatric endocrinologist, sums it up: “Insulin shunts sugar to fat. Insulin makes fat. More insulin, more fat. Period.” And by this, he means chronically elevated insulin levels.

Across the span of human evolution, insulin production became the mechanism by which the body could choose which form of energy to burn (fat or glucose), depending on what foods were available.   When we have a healthy metabolism, the body produces sufficient amounts of insulin to remove any excess glucose from the blood stream so that it can’t harm us.  In times of starvation (winter, in ancient times), this enables us to switch into a fat-burning mode to provide more energy, but when there’s lots of food available, we become insulin resistant in order to store extra food as fat.

The problem is that in modern society we have access to, and consume, far more carbs than our ancestors – even our parents!   And in combination with a high carbohydrate intake, insulin resistance can lead to big issues: Glucose isn’t getting into the cells and so it builds up in the bloodstream. The pancreas is getting signals that there’s still too much glucose and therefore keeps producing insulin. Eventually, this can cause Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Elevated Insulin & Disease

The evidence is mounting that chronically elevated insulin levels are implicated in causal pathways in many modern diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological issues. In the book “What the Fat?”, Professor Grant Schofield emphasises that it’s not only dietary factors that affects our level of insulin resistance, but many other lifestyle aspects like stress, poor sleep, smoking, sun exposure, pollutants, toxins, our activity levels or genes. But reducing insulinogenic foods (i.e. foods that raise insulin, like sugar, carbohydrates and excess protein) from our diet, keeping an eye on Omega 6/3 ratio and correcting micronutrient deficiencies is the first and foremost step to managing- or indeed preventing- some of the most prevalent chronic conditions.

After reading all this, you might ask why more people aren’t adopting this dietary approach and, more importantly, why?

more doctors aren’t recommending it. We believe that it’ll take time to shift the current mindset of “fat is bad and carbs are good” and to move away from the food pyramid/ healthy eating plate that is at the core of most government policies across the globe. Most mainstream health organisations recommend restricting dietary fat to less than 30% of total calorie intake. But in the past 12 years, an increasing number of randomized controlled trials (the gold standard of science) have successfully challenged the low-fat dietary approach.

Low carb and very low carb/ketogenic diets can be a useful lifestyle tool. Most people can safely reduce processed carbohydrates and embrace a diet that is full of green leafy vegetables, low sugar fruits (like berries), good and moderate forms of protein (like oily fish, eggs and offal) and healthy fats like olive oil, butter, coconut oil. The problem is that unless you take the time to educate yourself, you hear of people adding butter to coffee and still eating sandwiches at lunchtime and not really understanding that you can't just load up on fat and expect a good outcome.

If you find a low carb diet suit you and that don't have any of the contra indications or illnesses that would prevent you from going on a ketogenic diet, (see page 239 of our book) then get informed and well prepared as a keto diet can be challenging. Sadly, many people plunge in and eat steak, bacon and butter at every opportunity and don't consume a well-designed and nutrient dense ketogenic diet. Low carb and ketogenic diets can offer people a huge range of benefits, but these lifestyle changes don't suit everyone. It's important to get educated, start cooking and to remember that sleep, exercise, non-burning sun exposure and being part of a community are all vital ingredients to add to whatever diet you follow.

 

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HEALTHY TREAT RECIPE!!!

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HEALTHY TREAT RECIPE!!!

Folks, we are delighted to share with you some of the recipes that were entered into our healthy treat competition. They were all gorgeous so we thought you could make them too!!!
First up are these amazing Lemon & Spirulina Bars by Angela Bruni, one of our two joint winners!
Angela says: 'These delicious bars are the perfect on-the-go snack. It requires no baking and can easily be adapted to be vegan and gluten-free. Enjoy! These were great fun to make.'
Lemon and Spirulina Bars
(Makes 6 bars)
INGREDIENTS 
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
3 tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
6 Medjool Dates
1 tbsp Almond Butter
1 Unwaxed Lemon for juice and rind
2 tbsp Goji Berries
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tbsp Ground Flax
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
1 tbsp Spirulina 
50g Pumpkin Seeds
100g Oats
METHOD
1. Chop dates into small pieces and add chopped dates, coconut oil, sweetener of choice, almond butter and lemon juice to a small pan. Cook on medium until the dates are soft and make a paste with the other wet ingredients. Set aside. 
2. In a separate bowl add the goji berries, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, ground flax, chia seeds, spirulina and oats. Mix until everything is well incorporated together. 
3. Add wet ingredients to the dry and combine until the mixture has a sticky consistency. 
4. Take a loaf tin and line with parchment paper. Add the bar mixture in and press down until uniform. 
5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and cut into bars. The recipe makes 6 decent shaped bars perfect for work, school or even post workout.

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WE NOW DO OFFICE CATERING!!!

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WE NOW DO OFFICE CATERING!!!

Folks, we are delighted to announce the beginning of the Alchemy delivery service, so if you want to cater a meeting, treat your staff or feed the crew, we can bring you the finest, healthiest and tastiest food around!!!

Email Event@alchemyjuice.ie now to get our full and extensive menu sent to you!

This is a whole new concept of fresh whole-foods, salad boxes and Vietnamese style banh mi baguettes plus amazing cold-pressed juices and smoothies. We also have a selection of sandwiches and treats from our sister company Joe’s! And we specialise in food for vegans and vegetarians as well as having wheat-free, paleo and low-carb options! Something for everyone!

We serve breakfast & brunch platters, individual Alchemy salads and sandwich and wrap platters. Uniquely we also have brioche buns, banh mi, acai bowls and individual salad bowls, as well as delicious flasks of Cloud Picker specialty coffee.

Perfect for working lunches for staff and clients as well as for seminars and group meetings!!!

We deliver to your door but we do need 48 hours notice and a minimum booking of €50.

Note: We only deliver to the greater Dublin area. Minimum number of guests for platter orders is five and orders should be placed in multiples of five. Delivery charges start at €5 and vary depending on the distance. Free delivery for orders over €80 in Dublin 1, Dublin 2, Dublin 4 and Dublin 18. And, of course, terms and conditions apply!

For more, email Event@alchemyjuice.ie now!

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COMPETITION TIME!!!

GET YOUR COOKING CAPS ON!!!
We are running a really cool competition with the superfab Indy Power of The Little Green Spoon! We want you to submit your original Healthy Treat recipe. We will then compile a short-list and these will then enter a cook-off on January 26th here in Kildare Village. This will be judged by Indy and our own Domini Kemp. You could win a €300 gift card for Kildare Village!
So get your fave healthy treat recipe in now!
The competition is open to all. For more information, terms and conditions and to enter, please email event@alchemyjuice.ie

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