Healthy No Grain Chocolatey Breakfast

I initially tried this with wheatgrass powder instead of the cacao powder. It was disgusting. It looked like dried pond scrapings. It tasted worse. So revolting was it, indeed, that I ate a bowl on two consecutive mornings and then decided to throw the rest away. I hate wasting food, but it really was vile! However, this altered recipe is very palatable.

Yes, it’s possible to combine healthy eating and chocolatey-ness and have it for breakfast! This takes just a few minutes to prepare but will last for many breakfasts. Although the initial ingredients are expensive, a little goes a very long way, so this does not become too uneconomical.

 

You will need:

150g chia seeds

150g raw buckwheat

50g banana chips, crushed

50g dried cranberries

50g pumpkin seeds

30g popped amaranth

20g gogi berries

15g dried apple pieces

1 tbsp raw cacao powder (or more, to taste)

 

1. Wash buckwheat and leave to dry on a clean tea towel or kitchen roll paper. If you do this last thing at night it will be dry by the morning.

2. In a bowl combine the chia seeds, banana chips, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, popped amaranth, gogi berries, apple, cacao and fully dry buckwheat.

3. Stir gently to combine.

4. When fully combined, place in an airtight container.

 

TO USE:

Place one tablespoonful in a bowl. Add around 150-200ml water or almond milk and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes (you can even leave it overnight) before eating.

 

TOP TIPS

Watch this YouTube video for how to pop amaranth (you can also buy it ready-popped):

https://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=sqbQDKxDyW4

 

 

 

 

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Summer Refresher

In an attempt to boost my family’s ‘five-a-day’, I recently bought a juicer. This is one of my best recipes so far. I urge you to try it. It’s gorgeous. Who knew healthy eating could be so much fun? 🙂

Serves 2

You will need:

100g watermelon (not including rind)

100g raspberries

200g carrots

1. Wash your fruit/veg.

2. Place the watermelon into the juicer, followed by the raspberries and finally the carrots.

3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

TOP TIPS

Wash the juicer straight away after use, other wise the pulp can become difficult to clean off and could lead to staining or rust.

Although the recipe says to remove the watermelon rind, it is not necessary to remove the seeds.

Scarlet Blast

I made the following smoothie this morning for breakfast and it was so good that I didn’t even notice that I’d forgotten to take my medication.

Handful fresh spinach

Handful blackberries

Handful raspberries

400ml water

2 small dessert apples, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice (I cheated and used bottled lime juice)

1 tablespoon agave syrup

1. Place ingredients in blender.

2. Blitz until smooooooth.

3. Drink straight away otherwise the liquid separates from the solids and it’s not so nice.

Serves four (unless you’re greedy and only share it between two, like we did)

TOP TIPS

If spinach, raspberries and blackberries are not in season, you can use frozen versions. When using frozen, I use spinach direct from the freezer, but usually defrost any fruit overnight in the fridge. 

Ice would also go well with this, especially on a hot day.

Berry Boost Smoothie

Spinach, blackberries, raspberries and oats – four foods that are bursting with goodness and a great way to give you a delicious, low in sugar energy boost of a morning. I also give this smoothie the credit of preventing me from developing a full blown cold, unlike several other family members, and of helping increase my overall energy levels (I have health problems, so this is a big deal for me).

You will need:

1 handful frozen spinach or 3 handfuls fresh spinach

1 handful blackberries

1 handful raspberries

1 handful oats

1 litre of unsweetened non-dairy milk such as almond milk, rice milk or soya milk

1 dessertspoonful agave syrup/molasses/malt extract (optional)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Method:

Whizz together in a powerful blender until smooth, then decant and enjoy! Serves five.

Muesli

Still on the theme of breakfast, did you know it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy to make your own muesli? What’s more, you can make it to suit your tastes, rather than the taste of some manufacturer who will likely have added sugar and charged you a small fortune for the privilege. It’s easy. Honest. And it tastes great because you can adjust it to suit your taste.

 

You will need:

A large storage jar, e.g. a Kilner jar, because you’re going to put the ingredients in layers so that they’re evenly distributed. This took me some time to figure out lol!

Porridge oats (I buy the cheap 1kg bag in my supermarket for 75p)

Sultanas

Chopped dried apricots

Hazelnuts

Toasted flaked almonds*

 

I love these jars. They are so useful. I have pretty labels on mine (I knew that calligraphy class would come in handy some day!)

1. Put a 2cm layer of oats in the base of the jar.

2. Mix the other ingredients together.

3. Add a 1cm layer of the fruit and nut mix to the jar.

4. Put another 2cm layer of oats in the jar… and so on until the jar is approx ¾ full – don’t fill it to the top!

5. Tip the jar back and forth fairly vigorously, to mix the ingredients together – don’t worry, there is no perfect way to do this so 30 seconds of shaking is fine.

 

TOP TIPS

*You can buy toasted flaked almonds or you can just use flaked almonds and toast them yourself, or even leave them be, if you prefer. In my opinion toasted almonds add a lovely roundness of flavour, and work very well with the crunch of the hazelnuts.

You can try adding some malted flakes in with the fruity nutty mixture.

Don’t be afraid to experiment – there are no rights and wrongs other than what suits your taste. You could try: dried cranberries, chopped dates, walnuts, dessicated coconut, coconut flakes, raisins, etc., etc., basically whatever you like as long as you keep to the 2/3 oats rule, although you could use 3cm of oats to every 1cm of fruit and nuts. It just depends what you prefer.

I love home made soya yoghurt with my muesli – and sometimes I like to add a handful of fresh fruit such as blackberries or banana.

Green Banana Smoothie

Yet another tasty, nutritious and filling alternative for breakfast.

 

1 small banana

Handful porridge oats

Handful of frozen spinach

4 tablespoons home made plain yoghurt

200ml unsweetened non-dairy milk

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

1. Place in the blender and whizz together.

 

TOP TIPS

To clean the blender, rinse out with water, then add a drop of washing up liquid and a few hundred millilitres of water. Put the jug back on the blender base with the lid and pulse on and off for thirty seconds. This should get rid of most of the gunk, which is hard to wash off by conventional means.

Breakfast Smoothie

I have been experimenting with healthy alternatives to manufactured breakfast cereals and toast. Oats are a great breakfast food because they help to keep your blood sugar on an even keel so you don’t feel hungry mid-morning, but there are only so many ways you can make muesli or porridge, so I decided to experiment with my trusty blender. Here’s what I came up with:

 

Handful of frozen spinach

Handful of blueberries*

4 tablespoons homemade plain soya yoghurt

250ml unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice

1 teaspoon local honey** (optional)

Handful of porridge oats

 

1. Put all ingredients in blender and whizz until there are no lumps and the smoothie is -er – smooth.

2. Enjoy!

 

TOP TIPS

*Substitute blueberries with any seasonal local fruit for a more eco-friendly alternative. I used Spanish blueberries, so at least they hadn’t travelled thousands of miles, but local fruit would have been better from an environmental viewpoint.

**Our local honey tastes of flowers and is wonderful. It is expensive so we use it sparingly, but this breakfast seemed a good enough reason to use it!

Bread Pudding – The Stale Bread Saver

Easy as pie pudding

I hate wasting food. There are so many people who have next to nothing that to waste food is anathema. But what if <cue chilling music> despite your best endeavours your bread is stale? Fear not! Just have a go at this recipe. It’s a very simple way to use up stale bread. It’s also very versatile, making a good breakfast on a chilly morning served with milk or natural yoghurt; it can be sliced and eaten for a filling accompaniment to lunch; it can be dished up with piping hot custard for a wonderful winter warmer pud.

Bread Pudding, courtesy of wiki

You will need:

10 slices stale bread (medium sliced value/economy loaf)

milk/soya milk (or water)

130g sugar* (brown works well but caster sugar is fine)

70g suet/vegetable suet

200g dried fruit** (I used a mixture of sultanas, raisins, blueberries and apricots)

2 teaspoons mixed spice

Two  greased loaf tins

I’ve not priced this one up yet, but all the ingredients are relatively inexpensive, so the price per portion must be small.

1. Break bread into smallish pieces (1 inch/2.5cm) and place into a mixing bowl (you could use breadcrumbs).

2. Cover sparingly with the milk and press the bread down so that the bread begins to absorb the liquid.

3. Leave for 15 minutes.

4. Have a cuppa while you’re waiting.

5. Tip the mixture into a sieve or colander and squeeze excess moisture out. It needn’t be dry, just not dripping. If you were careful with the milk you shouldn’t be left with too much to squeeze (and hence, waste).

6. Place squishy bread in a big mixing bowl.

7. Add the sugar, fruit, suet and spice. Mix well.

8. Tip half into one loaf tin and half into the other.

9. Bake on a very low heat 100ºC for about 3*** hours.

10. Serve on its own, or with milk, yoghurt or custard.

TOP TIPS

Fair Trade – because they’re worth it

*Sugar – it is so easy to by fair trade sugar nowadays that this is an obvious choice for a recipe such as this. If it’s fairly traded, no one will have been ripped off. And ripping off poor people is nasty.

** Dried fruit – if you’re strapped for cash, go for sultanas. It won’t make any real difference in flavour.

*** You can cook this in the slow cooker overnight on ‘low’ or, if you have an oven which turns itself off, you can make it before bed, set the timer for 3 hours (knowing that the oven will turn itself off in the meantime) and look forward to a yummy breakfast, which makes a nice change from porridge or toast  🙂