This recipe has sat in the draft section for some time. Turns out posting it now, is good timing still, because it could easily work as a nutritious addition to your menu over the holiday season.
You may have heard of chia puddings by now. You may even be a big fan of them. If you haven’t you are missing out of one of the easiest, nutritious snack/dessert /breakfast ever! I remember a few years ago when these tiny little seeds appeared on the shelves in the health stores and no one had really heard of them, let alone knew what to do with them… These days they are big news! Turns out they are a good source of plant based omega 3 essential fats. They are also high in fibre, potassium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.
The seeds come from a desert plant, Salvia Hispanica, grown in Mexico and these tiny super seeds apparently featured on the menu of the famous Aztec warriors. In fact the word “Chia” supposedly means strength. When they first appeared this side of the world one of the many marketing claims was how it could help with weight loss. This may be true in some sense, but of course it’s highly unlikely that it would help anyone shed pounds all on its own. Weight loss is a lot more complex than just take one magic substance, unfortunately and the sooner we stop buying in to that concept the better (But that’s a topic for another day…)
I think in those early days, no one really had any clue how to eat them or how to make them taste nice. Thing is they swell a lot in any liquid you leave them in, and when they do, turns out they don’t look all that appetizing… The very first time I tried chia seeds it was a tsp of seeds soaked in plain water, just swallowed down. Not the most exciting thing I’ve ever eaten to be honest. Obviously times has moved on – enter Chia Pudding! I’m not sure who originally came up with the bright idea of serving the little guys this way but let’s just say it’s genius! Their ability to gel makes for a nice consistency and when you eat them in this way they can actually help with constipation rather than hinder it.
I have tried lots of different types of chia puddings at this stage but using a good quality full fat coconut milk is by far my favourite. It even reminds me a little of the Christmas dessert we have back home, rice pudding, well actually more like the cold version of rice pudding; Ris á la Malta.
Here you have a slightly healthier version made with just two ingredients: Chia Seeds and Coconut Milk. I’ve chosen to top this pudding with some winter spiced berries. Here I used the blackberries we picked back in the autumn. Grateful for the abundance back then and for the freezer now! If you, like me, live in the Northern Hemisphere where berries are not in season, then use frozen ones. I’d imagine blackcurrants or blueberries could work to. And if you live some where were it’s berry season, well then make the most of it and use fresh ones!
Coconut Chia Pudding – With Winter Spiced Berries
For the chia pudding:
200 ml full fat coconut milk – organic if possible
2 tbsp chia seeds (whole seeds)
For the berry compote:
1 cup blackberries – fresh or frozen
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1-2 star anise (depending on size of the star)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
To make the pudding; mix coconut milk and chia seeds together in a small bowl. Make sure it is well mixed together and stir a few more times over the next five min, to remove any lumps, as the seeds start to absorb the liquid. Then move to the fridge and let it set over a few hours.
To make the berry compote; place the frozen (or fresh) berries in a small sauce pan. Add in maple syrup, ground cinnamon. Gently toss the berries in the maple syrup and spices until evenly coated. Add in the star anise. Bring it slowly to a simmer and let it simmer away for about 10 min until fruit is soft and the compote is fragrant.
Serve the chia pudding in small bowls with topped with the warm spiced berry compote.
N.B This dessert (or even breakfast!) is very filling and not very sweet. You can omit the maple syrup if you are looking for an even lower carbohydrate load.
P.S. I hope you don’t mind me throwing in a picture from the beautiful autumn we had. Worth a reminder of brighter days to come as the longest day of the year fast approaches.
What do you do when you feel like celebrating or treating yourself? Do you go shopping, buying a jumper, or a book or something else nice that you’ve been wanting for some time? Treating yourself with something as a way of celebrating a recent success, a break through or when achieving something you didn’t believe possible, is such a nice thing to do. Or perhaps you want to get something to cheer yourself up after a long week at work or after receiving sad news. You know, that feeling of “I deserve something nice”. Self-love and celebrations of any achievements are ever-so important. They help us recognize the work we do and gives us less dependance on others praise. I believe to be truly happy, it has to come from within.
Treating ourselves with food though, is usually not the smartest choice, since (most of the time) the food we tend to go for is not the nourishing kind. Treating yourself with sugar laden, heavily processed, calorie dense food is not what your body needs if you are feeling down. At those times it needs even more wholesome goodness, as it is drawing on every reserve it has, to keep going. Trust me. I’ve done my fair share of comfort eating… It doesn’t work. It usually makes you feel even worse.
And if you are going to celebrate a new personal milestone in your life, then why would you not choose the very best of the best? Top quality food stuff. So you can both nourish your body and feed your soul at the same time. I mean, if you are going to eat cake or chocolate (or what ever your favorite food is) then get the best quality you can find, so you are guaranteed to satisfy ALL your senses at the same time! And no need to feel guilty about it either.
When I finally gave up dieting, almost eight years ago, I also gave up food as a way of rewarding myself. Instead I made one single rule only. Well two actually. One: Eat only when hungry and stop when satisfied. Two: You can eat anything you like at any time with out feeling guilty about it, as long as you follow rule number one. I’m not pretending it was easy. But years down the line, it has been such a relief to no longer be on the “dieting treadmill”. OK so I am still rewarding my body, almost every day with food. But REAL food. Clean fuel. Stuff that will nourish it and make sure it will do the job it is suppose to. Day in. Day out. Because that’s what my body deserves. If I want to reward myself for any personal goals I have achieved or to give myself some much needed TLC, I pick something else, that’s not food. Like talking a walk, hanging out with friends, spending time with my dogs, or perhaps buying a new cookbook!
Last year I bought Green Kitchen Stories’ beautiful App. Little did I know then, how much that App would inspire me to take my cooking, photographing and blogging further. I was totally blown away by the stunning images and the simple, clean recipes that went with them. It felt almost like coming home. So many wholefoods put together in such a tasty way. The natural progression was to go from the App, to their blog and then I found out that they had a cookbook coming out. So, I treated myself to it. Sure enough, it did not disappoint.
This Baked Oatmeal (Porridge, to the rest of us) is a slight variation of the original recipe featured in the cookbook The Green Kitchen. You will find the book on Amazon, if you are keen on getting your own copy. The recipes are clean and fairly straightforward to make. The images are gorgeous.
They also have this amazing recipe on their blog. Who would have ever thought of putting carrots in to porridge and still have it tasting divine? This breakfast has all you need for a good start to the day, or your day off. Healthy fats, antioxidant rich berries and some slow releasing carbs, to keep you powered for the day. Weather this day is spent hiking in the mountains, at a GAA match, as a day out with your family or simply resting on the couch watching a good movie, this dish is worth getting up a little earlier as it such a treat.
Or if you are in need of some TLC and looking to indulge, while still nourishing your body AND satisfy ALL your senses (Yes, I do believe that is possible to do all of that.) Totally guilt free. Then do make this recipe. It is simply so good! I promise 🙂
Baked Oatmeal A´la Green Kitchen Stories
Serves 4 comfortably
2 cups porridge oats – Use gluten free if you are celiac
400g raspberries, fresh or frozen – You can easily substitute for any berries you have in your freezer
2 eggs – Preferably organic
150 ml coconut milk
250 ml plant milk of your choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
A pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of almonds, roughly chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil, at room temperature
2 tbsp liquid honey or maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Use an ovenproof 8 x 10 inch baking dish and place all your berries in it. In a bowl combine the oats, baking powder, spices and a pinch of salt. Mix and pour over the berries. Add eggs, coconut milk, plant milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined. If you end up with a few lumps of coconut cream, don’t worry, it does not have to be perfect. Pour the wet mix over the oats and berries.
To create the crunchy top layer, place almonds and seeds in a bowl. With your hands rub the coconut oil in. Then add the maple syrup or honey and stir with a spoon until evenly coated. Spread the nuts and seed layer on top of the oats. Bake for about 30-35 min or until the seeds are just golden on top. Let the bake cool down slightly before you tuck in.
Satisfaction on all levels guaranteed! Perfect breakfast for a lazy Sunday.
Don’t forget to take some time out to rest and recover. It can be a Dog’s Life after all. Buddy is taking Sunday resting very seriously…
Things have been pretty hectic in my life for the past few weeks. Usually when life is full on, healthy eating goes out the window… And in my experience this is when we could to with nutritious foods the most. So quick, easy meals are the way to go. It just requires a tad of preparation. Believe me, your body (and mind) will thank you for the effort you’ve made. Healthy Body – Healthy Mind and all that…
Two things spring to mind when I think about muesli or granola. One is that it was pretty much as standard breakfast in our house when growing up. Except for a stint were we had microwaved cheese toasties and drinking chocolate for breakfast… Uh! I’m not sure how my health concious mother allowed this one to happen… However we rarely had cereal. The second thing is that I have always struggled with getting out of bed in the mornings. Once I get up I’m fine. It’s the getting up part that’s the struggle. When you like to savour every single spare minute in bed, you need a quick breakfast option. So what could be easier than pouring some milk or yoghurt into a bowl and top it with some muesli? No effort required. The only time consuming bit is to chew and swallow. These days, if I am really under pressure, I have even cut out this step and reach for a smoothie instead. The key is to make sure what goes into your bowl is real nourishment. So you, and your body, can deal with anything the day will throw at you. If you take the time to prepare a batch of your own home made muesli you can be certain that what goes into your breakfast bowl will set you up well for the day. If stress is part of your day, your body and mind (!) will thank you for all those stress-busting B-vitamins, from the spelt and oat flakes.
I only recently got back into making my own muesli again. Even though I must admit I prefer warming foods in the winter, it is nice to have an alternative to porridge sometimes. It is seriously easy to make your own and the variations are enless. My batches varies according to mood, what’s in the pantry and the seasons. In this recipe I went with some warming spices, to make the muesli feel seasonal. If you, like me, enjoy eating with all your senses, then you will hopefully like the addition of rose petals too.
Sunday mornings, If I have the day off, are sacred. These few precious hours are dedicated to rest and revival. This morning I indulged with a cup of hot chocolate. Chocolate and rose petals. Self-love indeed! You will find the recipe for this reviving hot drink on The First Mess. I substituted with local honey and added some cardamom.
Have a great Sunday and be good to yourself. You are worth it.
Floral Muesli With A Taste of Winter
Makes 1 large jar
1 cup rolled oats – I prefer jumbo oats for better texture
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup spelt flakes
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1/2 cup pecan nuts, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves – don’t over do this spice as it can easily over power everything else
Dry mix – to be added after roasting:
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup golden rasins
4 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
4 tbsp dried rose petals
Heat oven to 175°C. Add oats, spelt, quinoa flakes, pecan nuts and pumpkin seeds into a large bowl. Melt the coconut oil to the ingredients and stir until evenly coated. Add in all the spices and mix well. Spread the mixture on a lined baking tray. Toast the grain/nut mix for 10-15 min until lightly golden and your kitchen fills of a wonderful smell of spices. Stir it a few times to prevent burning and assure even toasting.
Remove the toasted mixture from the oven and allow it to cool completely before adding in the remaining ingredients. Store in an airtight container or a Kilner jar, in a cool dry place. Your muesli will keep for a few weeks. Serve it with your choice of milk or yoghurt. Or as a topping on your favourite smoothie!