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

5 Benefits of Chia Seeds + Chia Pudding Recipe

benefits of chia seeds

Chia pudding has been getting lots of attention lately.

Both foodies and fitties alike have been obsessing over this healthy snack and breakfast treat, and if you have yet to hop on the bandwagon, you’ve been missing out.

Unlike traditional puddings, chia pudding is not only beneficial to your health, but also quite filling due to the seeds’ very high fiber content. Once in contact with liquid, the seeds expand to 12x their original weight & size, and turn gelatinous. Think about the raw seeds entering your body, and then expanding as they work their way through your digestive track: The affect is similar to that of a snowball rolling down a snow covered hill, and as it gains momentum, it also starts to collect more snow around it. The seeds in your digestive tract move through your intestines, and do the same thing but pick up leftover bits of food. This can also help you lose weight!

Chia seeds are a nutrition powerhouse, and easily fit into the superfood category. Per tablespoon, chia seeds offer more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega 3’s are essential for brain development & mental health, heart health, & positive behavioral health in children to name just a few benefits. Surprisingly, many people are actually deficient in this essential fatty acid, mostly due to the 1990’s trend of trying to eliminate fat with “low fat” and “fat free” products dominating the grocery store shelves. The general public seemed to assume that fat in food = fat on your body, which isn’t true at all. Thankfully, people started to do their research and eventually came to realize that certain fats are healthy and in fact good for you!

Calcium is a necessary vitamin in our diet, and chia seeds pack a punch — double that compared to a serving of almonds. As we all know, calcium is essential for building strong bones and to help your heart, muscles and nerves function. For those of you who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, you know how hard it can be to get enough calcium, so if you haven’t started sprinkling these beauties on everything yet, what’s stopping you?

The Aztecs & Mayans considered these seeds a dietary staple, and  knew how nutritious they were. The word chia coincidentally even translates to “strength” in Mayan, so it’s any wonder why these little black seeds are hailed as a superfood. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which help to fight off free radicals which damage healthy cells in your body. Free radicals can contribute to not only aging but also diseases like cancer. 

chia seed benefits

I like to add chia seeds to just about everything – just be sure not to add them to anything you’re not going to eat right away (meal prepping) as they will quickly “gel up” and have the potential to solidify a smoothie. I’ll sprinkle chia seeds on top of salads, mixed in with musli or granola, on top of parfaits, in oatmeal, but my favourite way to enjoy them is in a chia pudding. 

Chia Pudding 

  • 1/2 cup of homemade almond milk 
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of buckwheat groats
  • 1 tsp of ground flax seeds
  • 1 chopped organic Medjool date
  • 1 Tbsp of coarsely chopped almonds

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a lid. Place in fridge for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. It will be ready once it has “set” like traditional pudding. Experiment with different flavours by topping it with cinnamon, cacao, bee pollen, vanilla bean, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Enjoy!