Cherie Tu of @thrivingonplants has a stunning feed loaded with inspiring plant-based sweet and savoury recipes. As this month’s Recipe Series guest, she created Cocobella Chocolate Pancakes and Cocobella Rainbow Slice – two dreamy sweet treats! We recently chatted to Cherie to get some insights into how she creates her feed, her daily routines and what inspires her and we’re so excited to share it with you.
Hi Cherie, thanks for chatting to us! We love seeing the great variety of meals you create in the kitchen, from sweet to savoury, snacks to wholesome meals, you’ve got great ideas across the board. If you were creating a holiday-season feast for some friends and family, what would be on your menu?
Thank you so much! Whenever I hear ‘holiday season’, all I can think is spice and comfort food. So here, we’re talking the all-time favourite apple-cinnamon combo. I’ve made an epic apple crisp before, that would definitely be on the menu, plus a delicious mushroom and lentil potato pie, and loads of side dishes and snacks for everyone to feast on. A spread of dips & home-made chocolate goodies sounds just about right!
When it comes to packing meals for those days out and about, what are your go-to ideas for nourishing and filling foods? Do you have any ideas for snack recipes you’ve been looking to test out?
I think you can never go wrong with making your own bliss balls. The flavour combinations are endless so depending on what you’re after, simply tweak the ingredients to suit your own taste. Personally I love lemon bliss balls, it’s a nice change from the usual chocolate ones; they’re sweet, tangy and fruity and the perfect snack when you need a pick me up. In terms of mains, if I’m on the go the best bet is to always bring something that doesn’t need to be heated up. Pasta or rice salads tend to be my best bet: they’re super simple to make, filled with fresh ingredients and once you’ve pre-made a batch, you’re set to bring it with you wherever you’re going the next day.
When it comes to down-time Cherie, what are your favourite ways to get some rest and relaxation?
Making myself a really comforting meal or warm drink and settling down to watch some sort of a comedy on my laptop. It’s really nice to wind down every now and then and take some alone time to de-stress and enjoy yourself J
It must take incredible planning and organisation to create a feed and YouTube channel as varied and engaging as yours. Can you give us some insights into how you plan your week? And provide some tips for anyone new to building a community and sharing their images and videos like yourself?
It certainly does! When I first began my journey on @thrivingonplants, I would jot down a list of recipes I planned to make for the week, till this day things haven’t changed too much, aside from the fact that those lists tend to be a lot more detailed and extensive now…haha! Generally it’s a combination of making recipes that I personally love + making recipes to also help others, meaning that I love to hear out and listen to my audience’s suggestions and base a lot of my content off of that.
We’re very curious to hear more about where you draw your inspiration. Not including Instagram, where do you look for inspiration and ideas when it comes to creating new recipes?
You definitely come across a lot of great ideas all over the internet – YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest… However at the end of the day I’ve learnt a lot from my own personal experiences and it’s allowed me to become super creative with my food. I just love making wholesome recipes that are generally colourful and filled with all sorts of different ingredients.
Could you share the top five Instagram accounts you love?
@elsas_wholesomelife à A fellow Cocobella Ambassador with a stunning feed filled with a bunch of recipes, lifestyle tips & travel pics.
@gypsea_lust à Ellie’s twin sister also has an incredible feed, her travel adventures and photography are so inspiring.
@ellenfisher à I absolutely love seeing all her delicious recipe and of course keeping up with her vegan family and their adventures in Hawaii.
@lonijane à Another incredible mum with loads of inspiration for delicious plant-based meals. Love how healthy, nourishing and delicious all her recipes are.
@lulusdreamtown à She creates the most stunning and colourful bowls of food. Her page is all about self-love and aside from her food being amazing, she’s a really sweet person too.
Exercise can be a tricky thing to navigate. Keeping things interesting and fun seems to be important for everyone. How do you approach staying fit and healthy? Do you have a playlist or top few songs you’d like to share that get you pumped for activity? Do you have any other exercise rituals that help motivate you?
I realised that the most important part of your fitness journey is having the right goals to guide you throughout the process of it. Exercising shouldn’t be seen as a chore, nor should you do it SOLELY to look a certain way. Of course we all want to work on how we look but it shouldn’t control your life and become something unhealthy. I truly believe that having a mixture of goals and doing the exercises that I love are what helps keep me motivated. Personally, I want to become stronger and to be able to do more with my body! I love strength training in the gym, the occasional home workout and in the past few months I’ve been bouldering with my friends on the weekend. Even if you don’t have a set routine, don’t stress! Moving is so important and your exercise routine doesn’t have to be limited to anything – go out for a run or walk/cycle with friends if you want to. It’s about doing what you love and are passionate about, setting challenging yet realistic goals for yourself and just being flexible with it. I don’t listen to music that often when working out because my playlist is often too chill to get me pumped up (haha, it’s more for relaxing) and I usually work out alongside my boyfriend so we like to communicate and support each other as we go along.
We love hearing about how our Ambassadors consume Cocobella in their daily routines. What’s your favourite way to use Cocobella Cherie?
I ALWAYS use Cocobella in my smoothies, it’s definitely my first choice of liquid as it’s naturally sweet and super refreshing. It also comes in handy when I create raw desserts, whether that’s to help things bind to together or to help with blending batters.
When it comes to grocery shopping, what would be five items that are always in your trolley? And what is something we would never ever see in your trolley?
Bananas, berries, any sort of leafy greens, mangos (since they’re in season at the moment) and some sort of starch (rice, potatoes, pasta etc). Because I’m vegan, you’ll never find any animal products in my trolley! If you were expecting me to say junk food… then to be completely honest I love being flexible and balanced with how I eat. Generally I always stick to whole foods however the occasional vegan snack doesn’t hurt.
Are you a sweet-tooth or more a savoury lover? What’s your kryptonite, food-wise, and have you ever crafted a more nourishing version of something naughty to satisfy a craving?
Savoury lover for sure! Although in the mornings I almost always have a sweet meal. I love starting my day with a fruit smoothie using Cocobella coconut water, but my next 2 meals will always be satisfying savoury dishes. Hmm… I think I’ll generally never turn down any desserts that are heavily fruit based (lemon meringue tarts, apple pies). There’s ALWAYS a healthier alternative to your favourite comfort foods, and often they taste just as good or if not even better than the original version. I love whipping up a batch of healthy choc chip pancakes or waffles (whole-wheat, oil-free, refined sugar-free) if I’m ever after something sweet and decadent.
Can you provide us with an insight into creating a video or image for you feed? What camera are you currently using, how do you make sure lighting is perfect, and is there anyone else that helps you out behind the scenes?
I’m currently using the Canon 70D. In all honestly the camera and lens that you use isn’t of upmost importance. Sure it’s a great investment to make especially if you’re looking to enhance the quality of your photos and videos, however at the end of the day what matters is finding the right set up and the editing that happens after you’ve taken the photo. I always use natural lighting, out of direct sunlight and my photos always tend to be taken in the same place to keep things consistent. From time to time I may ask my boyfriend to help hold up a reflector board or something else that needs to be kept up for the photo. If you saw what my behind the scenes looked like you’d burst out laughing! I use the least amount of props and just make do with what I have or can make.
What do you love most about creating and managing your accounts? Is there something that’s surprised you that’s come from your experiences with @thrivingonplants?
I’m not even sure where to start! It has been an incredible experience interacting with like-minded people from all around the world who also share a love for cooking and nutrition. Hearing great feedback and being able to help and guide others with their journey through my content makes it so rewarding at the end of the day. Along with this, I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to gradually grow my passion into a brand name/business for myself. It has been a wonderful experience working with all sorts of amazing brands (like Cocobella) and I’m extremely thankful for being able to do so!
Are you a big fan of travelling Cherie? What has been the best travel adventure you’ve had so far, and what is your next ideal destination?
Can I say that I’m a huge fan of travelling despite not having done much yet? If so, then yes! So far I’ve only kept in my little Australian bubble, the most I’ve ventured out to has been Queensland so far but it was an awesome experience. Noosa was incredibly beautiful, the scenery and nature blew me away. However, in 4 weeks time I’m heading to Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines and I can’t wait to find out what adventures await me while I’m there! I’ve always wanted to explore Asia so I’m definitely headed to my ideal destination(s) in my upcoming trip.
Do you have any new and exciting projects on the horizon that you would like to share?
I do, my eBook is coming out soon! I’ve been working on this for a long time now so I’m so excited for it to finally be available to all of my audience. It’s going to include a variety of breakfasts, mains, desserts, drinks and lots more. Stay tuned!