Superfood Breakfast Cookies

Superfoods Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

It gives our body the fuel it needs to conquer the day, so it’s important to choose foods that will nourish the body so that we’re provided with enough energy until the next meal.  One of the best nutritional pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from an old boss, who told me that her father always believed the first meal of the day should consist of healthy carbohydrates and proteins. After all, you’re breaking the fast that your body endured after dinner and during sleep, so chances are it’s been 12 hours since you last ate.

I’ve always believed that breakfast should be the largest meal of the day, as you’re able to spend the rest of the day expending the energy you’ve consumed. That being said, I know plenty of people who opt not to eat anything at all for breakfast, which would explain why they’re starving when lunch time finally rolls around, and they end up gorging on unhealthier food choices. This in turn of course, usually leads to a slower metabolism, and the need for these people to continually yo-yo diet…and unfortunately perhaps choosing weight-loss supplements or diet meal replacement shakes in search of a quick fix to losing the weight.

Luckily for those people, I’ve discovered a simple way to eat breakfast — in the form of cookies! Everyone enjoys a warm ooey-gooey cookie, and the convenience of these healthy treats means there won’t be any excuse for not eating breakfast.

These cookies were actually somewhat of an accidental discovery when I realised I’d cooked too much porridge on the stove. Curiosity and ingenuity led to me dumping all of my superfoods into the food processor, and then mixing the concoction into the warm oats in the pot. After playing with oven cooking times and temperatures, I took the guess-work out for you, and lo and behold: my Superfood Breakfast Cookies!

 

INGREDIENTS

Porridge:

  • 1 ½ cups Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup  Almond Mylk
  • 2 Tbsp Cacao
  • 2 Tbsp Maca Powder
  • 2 Bananas, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tbsp Honey

Superfoods Blend:

  • 1 Tbsp Flax Seeds
  • ½ cup of Bran Flakes
  • ¼ cup Raisins
  • ¼ cup Goji Berries
  • 1 Tbsp Bee Pollen
  • 1 Tsp Chlorella
  • 1/3 cup mixture of Brazil Nuts, Pecans & Cashews
  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 5 Prunes (can be substituted for dates to use as sweetener)
  • ¼ cup Hemp Hearts
  • 1 Tbsp Acai Powder
  • * Coconut Water (use sparingly)

 

DIRECTIONS

Combine the oats, almond mylk, cacao, maca powder, bananas, vanilla extract and honey in a medium sized sauce pan, thoroughly mixing everything together. Cover pot with lid, and leave on medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and oats are soft, about 10 minutes.

While oat mixture is cooking, combine the remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender. To keep the mixture from sticking, add small amounts of the coconut water until the mixture has the consistency of crunchy peanut butter.

Once oats have finished cooking, remove from heat and add the blended nutty superfood mixture to the pot, and stir. The batter should resemble that of oatmeal cookies. If the result is too runny, add more chia seeds and allow the mix to sit while the seeds gel. If the mixture is too thick, add small amounts of coconut water.

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Space cookies far apart from each other, and be sure to flatten

Preheat the oven to 175*c / 345*f and line 2 baking pans with parchment paper. Form the sticky batter into balls, then place on the baking pans, flattening them out into a cookie shape. The cookies will rise and taste more like a muffin if the batter isn’t spread flat enough on the sheets.  Ensure that cookies are not touching each other.

Once oven is hot enough, place the cookies on the middle rack and bake for 10 minutes. When the edges begin to look slightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Next, you’ll need to flip the cookies so that they can get crunchy on the underside.

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For optimum chewiness, flip the cookies mid-bake

Place back in oven for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until cookies begin to look hard. Remove from heat, and let cool.

As the cookies may still retain some of their moisture inside, they store best in the fridge, uncovered in a container and are best consumed within 5 days. If you can’t eat 36 cookies in 5 days though, they also freeze well.

MAKES: 36 cookies

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

TOTAL COOKING TIME: 30 minutes

Nutritional info per cookie:

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Managing Stress: Regaining your Mental & Physical Health

Stress

Take a deep breath, and relax.

We’ve all heard it before: stress plays an important role in our health. Obviously, it can wreak havoc on our mental health, but did you know that it can also impact our physical health?

During our fight or flight state, our adrenal glands go into overtime and start pumping out a slew of hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. Before we evolved into the human beings that we are now, our bodies relied on these hormones produced during stressful times. Cortisol aided us by raising our blood pressure, and prolonging blood loss in the event if we were about to go into battle with an enemy (fight), and adrenaline began to course through our veins preparing us to run away from our attacker (flight).

These hormones are synthesized in the central nervous system, and if not exerted and balanced, numerous health issues can arise including imbalanced blood sugars resulting in depleted energy levels, vitamin C deficiency, digestive upsets and ulcers, sleep quality, hair loss, unpleasant complexion, mood swings, decreased libido, irregular periods & fertility issues, extreme increase or decrease in appetite thereby affecting weight gain or loss, deterioration of thyroid health, motivation to perform common tasks and your general vitality and lust for life.

Being in a constant state of fear that something bad will happen to us is obviously quite detrimental to our health. It doesn’t help that over the past few decades, the norm has been for us to live a 24/7 lifestyle of being attached to our phones and slaves to our jobs, with no time for play or rest. In turn, our fast-paced mentality has carried over to our grab-and-go eating habits through fast-food and commercially prepared snacks and meals, which as we know is just creating even further damage to our health. It’s a domino effect.  

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A tranquil walk my not only clear your head, but can also assist in helping to exert the excess energy created by your adrenal glands

There are a number of steps we can take to assist in keeping calm, cool and collected — such as improving our nutrition, exercising more, and practising meditation and pranayama. However, just like with nutrition, the trick is to get down to the root of the issue and prevent these health ailments from arising, rather than treat them long after the damage has been done.

Think of the human body as a seed.

In order to flower, we require proper nutrition, a healthy amount of sunlight, clean water, and time to rest for growth, rejuvenation and transformation. If a budding flower were to constantly endure environmental stresses, how would it bloom?

If your job is causing your hair to fall out, can you find a different position? If you’ve developed ulcers from worrying about your relationships with others, can you distance yourself from them? If you’re turning to food when faced with a heavy course load at school, can you find better ways to manage your time? 

If what you’re doing doesn’t bring you joy, either find an alternative way to cope with it, or cut it out of your life.

Address your stresses so that you can further bloom.

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Don’t Look Back – You’re Not Going That Way

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I had a moment of self-realization recently.

I really enjoy solo road trips. There’s something so freeing and liberating about being alone in the car for long periods of time with nothing but you and the open road. I’ve always been shy when it comes to singing in front of people, yet when I’m alone in the car, I’m free to belt out the lyrics to my favourite songs on my car’s stereo. Singing makes me happy, and gives me a sense of finding myself more…so it’s any wonder I’m able to reflect and meditate best on long car trips alone.

A few weeks ago, I was driving along a desolate highway from Phillip Island back to Melbourne. The sun had long set, and the sky was pitch black. There were barely any other cars on the road and aside from the radio, my open windows revealed that there weren’t any surrounding noises outside. Yet, I unintentionally kept checking my rear view mirror.

Finally, for some reason I said to myself: Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.  

I immediately knew that this was my subconscious bringing clarity to not only the present moment whilst driving, but also to life in general. For years, I can remember telling my friends during their tough times not to dwell on the past. And once, after getting into and argument with a family member and then reconciling, I was told it was water under the bridge and we never brought up the incident again. So why then, when facing my own struggles, do I have so much trouble with letting go of the past? Sure, you can forgive and forget, but the heart can’t instantly repair itself. And granted, time heals all wounds, but you’re only going in circles if you keep trudging up the past.

Since further studying yoga and moving to Australia, I’ve done a lot of self-discovery. I feel as though mentally, I’ve grown a lot and gained so much wisdom. People have come in and out of my life, and I feel as though each person has been vital in my mental development — even if I only knew them for a short period of time.

We have to keep in mind that we’re constantly evolving. Each new day can offer a life lesson, whether big in the form of death or heartbreak, or small through learning a new skill or brightening someone’s day.

Yes, it’s okay to look back on the past as a reminder of how far you’ve come. But continually picking at the scab and resenting or dwelling on a moment long past isn’t helping you grow.  

Keep your eye on the prize, and try to move forward… because that’s the direction in which you’re headed.

Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts – for Trisca

I didn’t think it was possible to get a 7 year old to fall in love with Brussels sprouts


I didn’t think it was possible to get a 7 year old to fall in love with Brussels sprouts

I always enjoy a challenge, especially when it comes to finding ways to “sneak” vegetables into a child’s diet so that they eventually grow to love them. Brussels sprouts are tricky to hide though, so I decided to do something daring and opted to instead dress them up with the hopes that two 5 year olds and a 7 year old wouldn’t turn their noses up at them during dinner.

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Although I’d taken courses on Child Nutrition & Cooking at Stamford University, I didn’t have much experience with cooking for children before I moved to Australia to become an Au Pair.  My approach coming into the family was simple though: prepare my regular go-to meals, but  gradually introduce new flavours and spices to their palates by upping the intensity of herbs each time I cooked the dish. When I first arrived, the kids were accustomed to simple steamed vegetables, a starch (steamed potato, rice or pasta) and a baked or pan-fried protein for their dinner every night. A well-rounded nutritious meal, but a little mild in comparison to what I was used to cooking.

The oldest child, Max, was the trickiest to please. His favourite foods included pizza from the restaurant down the street, and “pasta pockets” (pre-packaged cheese tortellinis). When testing out new recipes and presenting them to the kids and getting their opinion on the meal, he was my toughest critic…so when I convinced him to try my Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and he gave me a thumbs up with a huge smile as he shovelled more into his mouth, I was proud.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 300 g Baby Brussels sprouts
  • 4 Fresh or thawed sausage links (pork, chicken, lamb, or meat-free)
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ Medium Spanish onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ Lemon, juiced
  • Herbal salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon herb & garlic seasoning
  • Thyme

 

DIRECTIONS

Steam the Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes, or until tender (you should be able to pierce with a fork all the way through). Remove from heat, and once cooled, slice in half.

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While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, slice the sausages lengthwise, and remove casings. Break into small pieces and roast in a large skillet on stove top. Once browned, add the Brussels sprouts and sauté in the sausage drippings for 2 minutes on medium heat.

Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sauté the Brussels sprouts with the sausage

Next, add a drizzle of olive oil, diced onions, crushed garlic, lemon juice and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar. Be sure to thoroughly mix everything together in the skillet pan. Add remaining seasonings to desired taste, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Continue cooking until onions are transparent, and Brussels sprouts are browned and slightly charred.

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Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts – the end result

Serve with mixed grains salad or roasted potatoes.

SERVES: 6

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

TOTAL COOKING TIME:  20 minutes

A Year of Reflection

Spending your birthday by yourself is a chance to focus on your goals and appreciate how far you’ve come

In 3 hours I’ll be 27 years old.

It’s so strange to think about where I thought I’d be by now. When I was a kid, I always imagined that I’d be married with 2 kids by the time I turned 25 years old. I suppose I had based this thought around the nuclear families I’d seen on TV, and the stories I’d heard of my grandparents marrying and having children of their own in their early 20’s.

The times however have changed. Now, it seems somewhat out of the ordinary to learn of anyone I know of or grew up with, as getting married and having babies of their own. In a sense, I still feel like so many people my age are still children themselves. Nonetheless, I feel as if for me 30 is just around the corner, and that there’s a push to start getting my life more in order…in terms of relationships, career, and responsibilities.

Looking back, I’ll consider the year I was 26 as a whirlwind adventure. I experienced what feels like a lifetime of ups and downs in a mere 365 days. I took my first solo trip and lived in Nicaragua for the summer, I became a certified Yoga instructor, I spent 3 weeks travelling through Europe, I made new friends, I spent more time with family, I left my job, I impulsively moved to Australia, I re-evaluated relationships , and most importantly I learned more about myself and how to love myself.

Although I’ll be spending my birthday this year 17,000km away from my friends and family, I look forward to turning 27 and to what this year has in store for me. I feel through this past year’s experiences, I’ve gained more wisdom and clarity to be able to truly decide on what I want in life.

Ageing is inevitable, so why not make the most of this short time we have on Earth? 

Perth Beach reflection