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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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

Eating Healthy While On the Go

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Life can be hectic. Gone are the days where the men were the primary bread-winners of the home and the women stayed back to spend their days cooking, cleaning, and looking after their army of kids. Statistics are now showing a sharp rise in families with children having both parents working too (60%), which is more than double what it was only a generation ago. It’s become the norm for couples to start (much) smaller families later in life, and along with the crummy economy, it means women have become accustomed to also bringing home their own share of the bacon. 

This of course means busier lifestyles for everyone. Mornings generally are a race against the clock as everyone rushes to get out the door for work or school, and it can be quite the struggle to pack a healthy lunch in a hurry. 

The office I work in currently is full of people who scoff at my homemade snacks and lunches, and would much prefer to spend their hard-earned cash at pubs or at a drive-thru. Their thin wallets and expanding waistlines reflect their poor eating habits though, so I don’t take offence when they laugh at my jumbo salads or breakfast shakes! 

Commuters and those with more demanding jobs may even turn to food to help them cope with their higher stress levels, which combined with a lack of exercise can further wreak havoc on their health. It doesn’t help that so many companies are banking on these people by shelling out “on-the-go” snacks and “minute meals” that are ready after a quick pop in the microwave but are laden with preservatives, chemicals, artificial nutrients and next to no nutritional value. The convenience is exchanged for poorer quality of food. 

The simplest solution is to go back to our roots. Only a few decades ago, ready-made snacks weren’t available, and the only thing that existed were homemade meals, or fruits & veg for snacks! Not only will home-prepared meals help you save a bundle of money, but you’ll be eating foods that you know are good for your body. The more nutrient-dense your foods are, the more your body will benefit from those energy sources. It’s as simple as that. 

I like to always have a variety of fruits and vegetables readily available for those moments where I’m running out the door and know I’ll get hungry later in the day. As soon as you return from the farmer’s market, orchard, garden or grocery store, wash and cut up your fruits and vegetables (if necessary). Put each serving in individual containers and then place in the fridge so that you can easily grab-and-go. 5 minutes of prep time can result in stress-free mornings and a happier digestive system and body. 

Here are a few of my favourite fruits & veggies to ALWAYS have on hand:

  • Apples
  • grapes
  • bananas
  • pears (seasonal)
  • peaches (seasonal)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cauliflower & broccoli
  • carrots
  • cucumbers

Fruits are sweet enough on their own, but if you need some extra flavour with your veggies, I like to add a homemade guacamole dip or homemade hummus. 

Along with the typical snacks from mother nature, there are lots of other options you can quickly whip together when you’re strapped for time:

  • fruity yogurt parfait
  • hearty superfoods oatmeal
  • whole grain toast topped with avocado & spices, or rice cake with nut butter & sliced bananas 
  • granola with homemade almond milk (packed separately to avoid sogginess)
  • trail mix
  • homemade musli bars
  • Ants & Birds on a log (celery topped with nut butter, almonds & raisins)
  • leftovers from last night’s dinner
  • Homemade Superfood Breakfast Cookies
  • deviled egg or hard-boiled egg
  • Homemade Crispy Kale Chips
  • super smoothie
  • chia pudding
  • Mediterranean Grains Salad
  • sandwich
  • salad

There are tonnes of other great snack ideas too, you just have to be creative. Meal prepping helps immensely, but remember that if you always keep good, healthy food in your kitchen, that’s what you’re forced to eat. 

In a pinch? Refuel with clean energy!

Keep it healthy!

Why You Should Eat More Fiber + Veggie Skillet Recipe

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On days when I’m strapped for time and can’t decide on what to eat, veggie skillets are my favourite. This simple vegan dish is jam-packed with fiber and will leave your taste buds satisfied. 

A plant-based diet has numerous benefits, but my favourite advantage is the higher fiber intake. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that can’t easily be broken down in our digestive system to be converted to sugar for energy (with whatever’s left over being converted to fat). Fiber is essential for helping to bind our digested food together in our small and large intestines to help move things along. It also helps to stabilize blood sugar, keep our cholesterol in check, and can even help prevent colon cancer and hemorrhoids. In addition, fiber helps to keep us fuller for longer periods of time which in combination with its digestive properties, aids in weight loss.

Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, whereas men should aim between 35 grams and 40 grams as they have a higher chance of being diagnosed with colon cancer, and typically consume more protein and calories than ladies. There are so many high fiber foods to choose from, so realistically there shouldn’t be any excuse for not getting your recommended daily intake (RDI). Whole wheat breads & pastas, brown rice, artichokes, avocados, apples, pears, lentils & legumes, almonds, peas and raspberries are just a few options, and there are hundreds of different recipes out there that combine these fibrous foods to form tasty meals. 

Along with taste, this veggie skillet recipe is jam-packed with 11 grams of fiber, 106% of your RDI of vitamin A, 232% of your RDI of vitamin C, 17 g of protein and 40% of your RDI of iron. By prepping your veggies before hand and freezing them, this dish can be made in under 5 minutes.

Veggie Skillet

  • 3/4 cup of diced par-boiled potatoes
  • 1/3 cup of diced red/green/yellow/orange sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped kale or leafy greens
  • 1/3 cup of green or yellow beans, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 a carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of mushroom pieces
  • 1/3 cup of shelled edamame
  • 1/3 cup of black beans
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil, avocado oil or flax seed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/3 shallot, finely chopped

Spices

  • 1 tsp of chili seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1 Tbsp of homemade Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp of seasoning salt
  • dash of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of freshly diced parsley or 1/2 tsp of dried parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp of paprika

Heat oil, garlic and shallots in frying pan on medium heat. Once shallots begin to turn transparent and soft, throw all veggies in the pan and sauté until veggies are thawed (if using frozen), or if using fresh, add spices immediately. Cook until browned. Serve immediately for a vegan dish or top with a warm over-easy egg, allowing the runny yolk to break and coat veggies under it.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving: 350
Protein
17 grams
Carbohydrates
56 grams
Fiber
11 grams
Sugars
6 grams
Fat
3 grams
Sodium
147 milligrams
Potassium
1346 milligrams
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Calcium
Iron
106 %
232 %
23 %
40%