Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

A few weeks ago, I made something a little special for dessert!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This recipe was originally a mish mash of several RAW Gluten Free Chocolate Tart recipes that I found on the internet (pure and simple, rawmazing, bare root girl).

But my tart isn’t raw, because I use roasted nuts (they taste better!), I baked the base (roasted nuts and coconut is HEAVEN) and raw desserts use a lot of dates (I hate dates!).

The base is so delicious! Almost like a protein ball crossed with chocolate granola and it holds together really well. You can pick up a slice and it’ll stay in one piece. It is biscuity, crunchy and I have been baking it with sliced fruit on top to make simple fruit tarts.

Enjoy!!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

Crust/Pastry
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoon on cacao powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon on vanilla essence

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
250ml coconut milk

1 cup of frozen raspberries
1/2 of frozen raspberries (to serve)

*Chocolate Filling Alternative
(I often run out of cacao powder, so I sometimes use this, plus it’s much simpler)
150g of dark chocolate
250ml coconut milk

1) Preheat oven to 180C.

2) Use a food processor to blend the crust ingredients. I don’t suggest using a high speed blender, because you don’t want the crust to be so fine and powdery. I think the crust looks better with chunky bits! Another great medium hairstyle is the one that you can wear to work, especially if you are going to work on a daily basis. You have to think about the types of jobs that you are going to be doing and then look for hairstyles that will suit the type of job that you are likely to do. Find your own cool medium haircut at https://barbarianstyle.net/medium-haircuts/ The most popular hairstyles for girls and men are medium hair styles that are parted up to one inch or more.

3) Press into a 24cm flan tine, or 21cm spring base tin. Work into the bottom and up the sides to create an even crust lip. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Let it cool.

4) Gently melt the coconut oil (or chocolate) then add cacao and maple syrup. Let it cool.

5) Pour filling into base, spread out the raspberries evenly over the top. It’s OK if they sink into the filling. Put into freezer to set for 2 hours. Leave in fridge to defrost for 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle more raspberries over the top to serve.

I loved the sharp tang of the raspberries with the mellow chocolate filling! But my children found the raspberries a bit too sour and would only eat it if I put a bit of ice cream or maple syrup on top.

Alexander McQueen Sunglasses

Brought to you buy SunglassesShop

Hi everyone! Happy Friday!

Today I’m talking about nose candy today.

I have an exclusive 12% discount code for those looking to buy a new pair of sunglasses from SunglassesShop.

Enjoy 12% off your total order, including sale items . Just use this code at the checkout: 12KAREN

This code is valid from 28 August – 4 September 2015. They offer FREE worldwide delivery and no fuss returns.

You might want to get yourself a pair of super popular Dior wire frames, or cult favourite Celine Audrey sunglasses, or sexy Tom Ford shades, or some classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

McQ by Alexander McQueen from Sunglasses Shop

For me, I’m reviewing some affordable McQ by Alexander McQueen sunglasses!

Affordable? Say what? Usually a pair of Alexander McQueen sunglasses will set you back an eye-watering $400 – $500.

But the fashion house has a more affordable ready-to-wear diffusion line, called McQ (hello lower price points!) with lots of good-looking sunglasses designs. Think classic styles with an injection of McQueen cool.

I picked out the Geometric Cateye Sunglasses in Havana, because I was looking for something a bit different.

Yes it’s great to have a pair of original wayfarers, classic aviators, and timeless cat-eyes; And just like shoes, it’s nice to own a pair of timeless pointed toe pumps, or a classic strappy heeled sandal…

But hey sometimes “wearing classic” can get a bit boring, you look like everyone else (or your 12 year old son), and sometimes you just want to wear something DIFFERENT!

McQ by Alexander McQueen from Sunglasses Shop

I love the look of large sunglasses with a slight cat-eye shape, if you do to, check the catalog available at Altitude Sports and get the one you like the most. I think it suits my face, much more than large round or large square-shaped sunglasses.

I like the soft-geometric angles and flat-top feature of the sunglasses. It looks feminine without being too retro. It doesn’t immediately scream 50s… it just looks modern and flattering.

Another great thing about these sunglasses is the combination of wire arms and metal temples, which makes them light to wear. They are not heavy and does not make my nose or ears hurt from the weight of all that plastic. They weigh less than my Ray-Ban Wayfarers!

In terms of returns, SunglassesShop have an local phone number and email you can use, and a 30 day return policy.  You do have to post the item back to the UK, which will cost you about $15-$20. However my sunglasses retail elsewhere for $230, compared to $191 at SunglassesShop. Then with my 12% discount, its final cost was $168 – saving $62! So in a way I think risking $20 to pay for a return is a pretty good risk for a stunning pair of Alexander McQueen sunglasses haha! That’s how I rationalise it!

Anyway, happy shopping and hope you find something you like!

Have a great weekend!

xxx

Healthy Strawberry Smoothies

Strawberry & Raspberry Smoothie

After school, I usually make smoothies for my kids (so that’s about 4-5 times a week).

Each time I make about 750ml (3 x 250ml) of one batch; then I make a smaller batch for myself, because I like my smoothies with nuts, coconut, spinach and other weird, healthy stuff.

I use a NutriBullet, however I think any high speed blender will do the trick. My mum bought it for me and it was kind of a surprise/unwanted present, because I already had a (non-high-speed) blender. Initially I was very reluctant to use it, and it sat on my shelf for months. Why? Because I hated the TV infomercials! The marketing people say the blades breakdown the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, unlocks nutrients, and makes women prettier?!? Ugh I couldn’t stand it.

Anyway, the blender and I are friends now.

So… I’ve been sharing a few of my smoothie photos on instagram (@karenlycheng) and a few people have asked me to share the recipes on my blog.

Er, I don’t actually have an actual recipe! I just throw stuff together and play with proportions. If I put more raspberries, it’s going to taste more like raspberries!

The other day I made a concoction that I shall call: A Healthy Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries, blueberries or mixed berries.
1 banana
1/2 green apple
1 cup of coconut water
1/4 cup natural plain yogurt
1 teaspoon of honey (optional)

(This makes about 750ml)

I don’t believe in adding extra sugar to my smoothies. I think the sugar from the fruit is enough. But sometimes my apples or berries are so sour and tart that my kids refuse to drink the resulting smoothie, so I add a bit sweeter fruit like grapes, frozen mango, and if nothing else works, I add honey or maple syrup to make it a bit more palatable.

Enjoy!

Gift Wrapped With Times Tables

On the weekend you might have seen my post about Liam’s 7x Timetables on my Instagram feed (@karenlycheng)?

Well the back story is…

7 x Table Gift

Liam was going to a friend’s birthday party – a girl’s 7th birthday – and we BOTH had no idea what to get her.

I am terrible at buying gifts for girls; What do they want? What do they play with? Is jewellery and makeup acceptable? For a 7 year old? Maybe not? Is a crafty present too lame? Are books too boring? Does it have to be pink? Do girls even play with Barbies now?

So we went to the shops and after a good hour, we picked out a huge FROZEN craft box, with stickers, colouring-in pads, marker pens, glitter glues, sequins etc. What a win! I was very proud of my/our choice. We also bought wrapping paper, but I told my 6 year old that he had to make a nice card.

Liam didn’t want to make a card, so he whinged, moaned, groaned, stomped his foot and procrastinated about it ALL WEEK… until the morning of the party.

(I found it really strange, because usually he loves making birthday cards. He has a little drawing table all set up with paper, markers, pencils, glue…)

Anyway, as always we were in a rush that morning, so I asked my 12 year old boy to wrap the present and Liam HAD TO MAKE A CARD!

Liam asked, “Can I just write her name on the wrapping paper??”

NO!! YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO WRITE ON THE BOX WITH A PERMANENT MARKER! THAT’S LAZY! MAKE A DAMN CARD! I’M GOING TO HAVE A SHOWER, WHEN I GET OUT YOU NEED TO HAVE MADE A CARD OR YOU’RE NOT GOING TO THE PARTY! AND IT HAS TO BE A REALLY NICE OR CLEVER CARD! I DON’T WANT TO SEE A HALF-ARSE SCRIBBLED ONE! NEAT HANDWRITING! NICE MESSAGE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND? AND DON’T WRITE ON THE WRAPPING PAPER!

(Too harsh? Haha oh well. Welcome to my mornings!)

When I got out of the shower, I yelled at all 3 kids to get into the car, grab their sports bag, get a drink bottle, no you can’t go barefoot, why are you taking a basketball to the bowling party, why are are you asking me about dinner, did you go to the toilet…??

Then I noticed Liam’s “card”.

He wrote on the damn wrapping paper! UGHH!

He actually DID make a card. A nice one too. He sticky-taped it to the other side of the box, wrote instructions on the box, an extra birthday message on the box, and the 7 times tables?? Why? Because it was her 7th birthday?

Oh my god, it was sooo cute and geeky and sweet and weird. My heart was bursting with pride and love, yet I was so pissed off that he had done EXACTLY what I told him NOT to do!!

I was too rushed to scold or punish him.

I quickly took a snap and zoomed out the door.

I had no idea what to do about my predicament, so I just decided to…um, not mention it ever again HAHA!

(Oh and share it with the internet…)

Buy Korean Skincare Online from Aniqa Australia!

Brought to you by Aniqa

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Cremorlab and Mizon

I’m so excited to introduce you all to a new kid in town: Aniqa is an Australian-based online store that stocks some of the hottest Korean skincare products around. You can visit www.skinhelpers.com for more good skin care products that you would be excited to share with everyone.

What makes Aniqa different?

Aniqa stocks a carefully edited selection of “boutique” Korean beauty brands – such as, Cremorlab, Mizon, Be The Skin and Caolion.

There are thousands of Korean beauty brands out there, so if you’re a Korean skincare newbie like me, and you just want the best products from the best brands… this site is a godsend!

If you’ve been reading Vogue and other online fashion magazines and beauty forums, you’ll notice that they frequently feature products by Cremorlab, Mizon and Be The Skin. Also, big names like YouTube beauty queen Michelle Phan and Olivia Palermo rave about Cremorlab and Mizon too.

The Aniqa site is run by two passionate and hard working women, who are dedicated to trying and testing out every single product; listening to their clients, finding out what works, what sells and what are creating the most buzz around the world. There’s a nice personal touch to the highly professional site.

The site is beautiful, easy to navigate, secure, and most of all, you can get your Korean beauty fix with ease – cheap and fast! No need to pay gazillions of dollars in shipping from the US or wait 3-4 weeks for your order from Asia.

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Cremorlab

But first, I wanted to talk about where I’m at.

I’m in my mid-30s and skin care is really important to me. I wear sun cream, I wear a hat, I eat well, exercise, drink water, get 8 hours of sleep … most of the time, I do all the right things :)

Over the years, I’ve leaned away from drugstore brands and have reluctantly bought into the world of expensive skincare products from global brands. I say reluctantly, because a little part of me dies when I purchase a bottle of cream for $185!!

But I can’t complain really. If I work hard in keeping up a regular skincare regime, I see results.

When I take care of it, my skin is clear, radiant, smooth and it glows.

I’d say that my skin is at its optimum level. I rarely have dull skin days anymore.

I have been using mostly SK-II products (Facial Treatment Essence, Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, Stempower Cream and face masks), Lancome (Advanced Youth Activating Concentrate), and some products from Clarins, Shiseido, Alpha-H, SkinCeuticals, Philosophy and Trilogy.

My main problem is that it’s all so expensive.

(And I haven’t done any lasers, peels, dermabrasions, injectables, fillers, light therapy, or surgery before!)

My Recent Switch to Korean Brands!

I had been hearing a lot about Korean beauty products and how they are taking the world by storm. Everyone seems to be loving them – Vogue editors, fashion and beauty magazine editors, celebrities and hardcore fans on online beauty forums have been trying them out and absolutely loving them.

It sounded good and I was curious to try. I wanted IN on beauty products specially designed for Asian skin!

But…

1) I was reluctant because I didn’t know where to start!

2) I am aware (and possibly quite cynical) that this too is just another “trend” and “hype” in the cosmetics industry.

3) It was difficult to buy Korean beauty products in Australia.

So a couple of months ago, I got a call from an old high school friend… she and her business partner had set up an online store specialising in Korean skincare products, Aniqa. It was a nice site! She wanted to work with me and my blog and we set up a meeting. Usually I am very cautious and reluctant when working with skincare brands. Most times I just say no thanks. I have had some really bad experiences in the past. The results ranged from terrible to mediocre, and who wants to read and hear about terrible/mediocre products?? I only ever want to talk about stuff that I actually LIKE and USE.

I was trying to find a nice way to say, “Uh no thanks babe. I’m happy with SK-II and my little routine!” I didn’t want to go through that whole testing out skincare products journey again – ugh!

But she was an old friend, a lovely person, super-smart, super-genuine, self-starting, go-getting kind of person… so we met up, we caught up with each others’ lives, we talked and laughed for hours… and she gave me a box of products to try out.

That was in June.

And for the last 2 months I have been hooked on using these new products!

Now for the first time, I actually enjoy looking after my skin. I use a facial sheet mask twice a week, and I do a scrub twice a week. I bounce with excitement knowing it’s FACE MASK DAY! Or I go through the day and think, YAY I GET TO DO A SCRUB TONIGHT!

I cannot seem to express how much sheer joy and pleasure I have when I go through my routine and seeing my skin glow!

The result?

Well, I keep waking up in the morning and my skin is gorgeous!

Every day I look in the mirror and think – holy crap, er wow?!

I can honestly say that my complexion is more radiant, smoother, has less redness and is more hydrated than it’s ever been over the past few years. My skin is optimum + a few notches up. Slow the process of skin aging by using West Dermatology’s ISDINCEUTICS Melatonik from this store.

Now whether that’s the result of ONE product, or a RANGE of products, or that I’ve simply upped my skincare regime and have now made it a positive priority in my life… I’m not entirely sure. I would say that it’s a combination of all three/four reasons.

The fact still stands, I see great results and I’m liking it.

Another result is a change in attitude: Taking care of my skin is not a boring, futile chore at the end of the day. It is seriously so. Much. Fun… and I think that inner joy and sparkle comes across in my face too :)

Yes I still get an occasional dull skin day, where my skin is not radiant and smooth. But… that is possibly connected to hormones, sleeping at 2am, eating way too much chocolate, exercising with makeup on my face, not drinking enough water, experimenting with new makeup (reviewing for blog posts) and sitting in a room with a heater/aircon on for 5-6 hours. Haha all the major no-nos!

And yes it’s probably the same amount of skincare regime work (possibly a bit more) as before with my old products SK-II, Lancome, Shiseido, etc.

So then, what was the difference? Why switch?

1) The prices.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (150ml) is about AUD$185 and Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence (270ml) is AUD$58.

SK-II Stempower Cream (80g jar) is AUD$200 and Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Cream (70ml) is AUD$55.

Ok I know I seem to be hard on SK-II. That wasn’t my intention! I DO love, love, love their products and they DO work for me. But it’s so expensive… $385 for two products?? Whereas two equivalent Korean products (as mentioned above) would set me back $113. Yes I know this is a self-inflicted, first world problem… Haha don’t judge me!

2) Using products in the same range.

Because the prices are great, I can afford to buy all the products in the same range (for example, Mizon Pore Range, Cremorlab Hydro Plus Snow Falls Line) so I’d be happy to use all the toners, serums, eye creams etc. And while a small part of me thinks these ranges are just a marketing ploy, I still like to think that products from the same range should work together chemically, in terms of the right pH, active ingredients, layering and absorption.

3) The smell is simply ah-mazing!

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Cremorlab

Where to start?

The brand Cremorlab (recommended by YouTube beauty queen Michelle Phan and Olivia Palermo) has a huge cult following. Their most raved about products would be Cremorlab Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence ($58 – pictured above), Cremorlab Triple Bright White Bloom Foam Cleanser ($39 – pictured above), Cremorlab Smooth Pudding Moisturiser ($65)

And their range of amazing Cremorlab Sheet Masks (starts from $5 – $14) are often featured in fashion and beauty magazines.

Aniqa Korean Skincare - Mizon

Mizon is stocked in Urban Outfitters in the US! According to online beauty forums, Mizon’s range of Snail Repair creams and gels are JUST AMAZING. (These are not stocked on Aniqa yet!) Their serums are also really popular.

My favourite so far is the Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Cream ($55) and the Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Toner ($40).

I am hoping to try the Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100 Serum ($65) too.

Be The Skin is also another popular product, often raved about by fashion and beauty editors. https://www.kingofadultseo.com I personally haven’t tried any from this brand yet, but I heard that these were good: Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Cream ($58) and Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Serum ($59).

I have tested out most of these products mentioned above and I’ll be posting my reviews on which worked best for me!

I’ll also be testing out a few other popular Korean skincare products… so stay tuned!

Happy shopping!

xxx

(Btw, I had a few messages about the flowers in these photographs – Yes I photographed these photos! I sourced the purple Native Wisteria and Camellia branches from my garden, the Almond Blossom from my neighbour’s garden, and the white Lisianthus flowers are from the local florist.)