Oatmeal smoothie or my green tinge smoothie

I've been making a new breakfast smoothie lately instead of having oatmeal or muesli.  I'm loving it so I thought I'd share it with you.  While initially it was my "oatmeal smoothie", for the last few days, I've been adding a green tinge to it - not from veggies, but from green tea, so now its my "green tinge" smoothie. Yes, another way to get green tea into my diet when I don't like the taste of green tea!  And just a tinge of green as sometimes, I just don't fancy veggies for my breakfast!


I vary it most days but the basics are:
1/4 cup rolled GF oats
1 cup organic, unsweetened soy milk
1 small banana
1/2 tablespoon matcha green tea
1 tbsp of sun choke or yacon syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed.

Here the reasons for my ingredient selection:
I use soy milk in this, as it has a higher protein level than other non-dairy milks.  While I am definitely not one to say we need a lot of protein in our diets, it is good to have a little in every meal/snack.  Almond milk, which I like a lot, only has 1g protein per cup, whereas soy milk has 9g per cup.  I need about 45g a day so this smoothie provides about 15g in total - a third of my daily needs.


The sunchoke syrup - or as its called above, sunroot sweetener, is a relatively new product on the market and worth a try for its health benefits  It is a prebiotic made from sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes. Prebiotics are functional foods that your "good" gut bacteria thrive on. Basically it is something that we can't digest ourselves, so it passes to the colon and, bacteria, particularly bifidobacteria just eat it up! They thrive and their numbers increase and that helps us thrive.  Yacon syrup is a similar product but made from yacon root ( and is more expensive!).  It is a syrup - even though its only made from sunchokes/yacons, so can be used as a sweetener. I don't think this smoothie needs sweetening actually, but I use it for its prebiotic component.  1 tbsp has 7g of fiber in it. Added to my flaxseed in this smoothie and other ingredients and I'm getting a total of 14g a fiber, just for breakfast.

Our lovely green nectarines are ripe on the tree right now so I've been swapping out the banana for them some mornings, so choose whatever fruit you have ripe right now.  I actually prefer it with the nectarines - but I'm using the ones that fall on the ground so as not to waste the perfect ones. Yes, they are green - outside and in. Not sure what the varietal is but they are wonderful.

What's your morning smoothie right now with all this yummy fruit and veggies in abundance? Share your recipe.
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Baked Oatmeal to go

I often hear people tell me that they eat oatmeal some mornings for breakfast but when they are in a rush, they often choose something less healthy and sustaining.  "Why not try baked oatmeal?" I say - so today's recipe is an easy grab and go baked oatmeal.  Make it at the beginning of the week and you have nearly a week's worth!



This recipe was also good timing for me as we leave today to go back to England for a couple of weeks.  I always take my own food on the plane so I have been thinking what to take for my in-the-air breakfast. I figured if  I baked my oatmeal in muffin cases, they would work perfectly!


And voila!  I also used up some of my quince puree too before we leave - but if you don't have quince, you can use unsweetened applesauce instead.  This quince oatmeal to go is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and with no added sugar or fat.

Here's the recipe:

1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 banana broken/chopped into little pieces
1/8 cup flaxseeds (whole or ground)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tbs cardamom powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup non dairy milk
1/4 cup quince puree or apple sauce/puree

Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Spoon into 7 muffin cases in a muffin pan.  Bake at 375F for 35 minutes.

To serve - just grab and enjoy if you are on the go or if you do happen to be at home, you can break one up in a bowl and pour over some extra warm non-dairy milk. Store in the fridge.


(Bet you end up having them not just at breakfast time!!! I've got to make sure I don't eat them all before I fly off.)
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Rosehip, Quince and Clove granola

What a combination: Rosehip, quince and cloves!  It tastes so rich and full in the mouth.  And this granola  - while it has these three great healthy and yummy ingredients - is also happily lacking in 3 not-so-great ingredients - it doesn't have gluten, added oil nor added sugar.

Rosehip, Quince and Clove granola served with
almond milk, pomegranate seeds and homegrown passion fruit

A healthy, spicy, rich granola - perfect for fall and winter.

For this recipe, I took some of the roasted quince that I described in Monday's blog and pureed them in a blender with just a touch of water.



The recipe for the granola is as follows:

2 cups of grains (- I used 1 cup GF rolled oats plus 1 cup of GF unsweetened puffed brown rice)
4 tablespoons rosehip powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup pureed quince

Mix all the ingredients together and then place on a baking sheet or shallow dish.

Bake at 375F for 10 minutes then remove and stir well.  Put back in the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes until dried and starting to go crunchy. You need to keep an eye on at it during this time to check the outside parts aren't over cooking.

Remove from the oven and enjoy for breakfast or a snack.

You can add nuts and dried fruit to this recipe too. Add the nuts before cooking but add the fruit after cooking.


What a great start to the day: Serve it with non dairy milk/yoghurt and we get the fiber and catechins from the quince; more fiber from the oats and brown rice; anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects from the cloves, quince and rose hip; and plenty of vitamin C from the quince and rosehip.



And all that with NO added sugar, oil, salt and no gluten.

You will love the combination of rose hip, quince and clove.  When are you coming over for breakfast?
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Flowered grainless granola



One of my most popular recipes is my no added sugar or oil, gluten free granola.  There are numerous variations you can made to it with different add-ins etc, so it is nice and versatile, depending on your own taste.  I still make the recipe regularly for myself - often keeping it plain and simple with 3 ingredients - oats, puffed brown rice, and unsweetened apple sauce. Then I just add whatever fruit is in season in our garden and some homemade soy yogurt - and I'm a happy girl!

However, eating grains can sometimes cause issues for people and lead to bloating, gas, pain and other symptoms.  Eliminating grains, refined sugar and dairy can sometimes help in this situation.



The reason behind this is that these food items contain fermentable carbohydrates that can promote overgrowth of bacteria and other microorganisms in the gut.

A plant based diet without grains, dairy and sugar can lead to favorable changes in the quality and quantity of intestinal microflora.  You should talk to your health care provider for more information on this so they can monitor your changes.



So while many of us eat cereal for breakfast,  if you are grain free - it gets tricky!  So today I decided to come up with my own recipe for a grain-free granola.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out. Its made with seeds, nuts and fruit - and dried flowers to make it look pretty and special.  Gluten free, no added sugar or oil. It is also suitable for those on a Paleo diet.  I love the addition of the flowers.  It gives the message that this isn't a hardship granola and you are missing out on grains. It gives something extra - a bonus of pretty flowers so there is no feeling of deprivation.

Here's the recipes:
1/2 cup raw organic almonds - roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw organic walnuts - roughly chopped
1/4 cup raw organic hazelnuts - roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw organic sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
one small pot (4oz) unsweetened, organic applesauce
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 dried edible flowers


  1. Heat the oven to 375 F
  2. Combine the nuts and seeds together and stir in the cinnamon.
  3. Add the applesauce and stir thoroughly until well combined.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and stir well, bringing the edges into the center so they don't burn.
  6. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes  - keeping an eye on it so the edges don't burn.
  7. If crispy and dry - remove from the oven.  If still a bit damp, give it another couple of minutes.
  8. Let cool.
  9. Add the raisins and edible flowers and mix.
This makes a delightful trail mix as well as a granola.

Obviously the recipe is very versatile. You can choose your own combination of seeds and nuts and fruits.  Omit the flowers or use the flowers.  Basically you need one small pot of applesauce for 1 3/4 - 2 cups of nuts/seeds.  If you use more, you'll have to add more applesauce.

If you don't have dried edible flowers, you can use a flower tea blend. There are some lovely ones out there.  So take a look and add some pretty to your breakfast!

But do bear in mind that this recipe is mainly nuts and seeds. While there is no added fat, the nuts and seeds are high in fat.  If you are trying to lose weight, this should be a consideration.  Nuts and seeds are good to having in our diet - but not too many.


It's funny how I used to have granola with milk or yogurt as the add-on.  Since making my own soy yogurt and loving it so much, I now have yogurt with granola as the add-on, that is the yogurt is the predominant factor.  This new flowery granola may switch things back - or maybe it'll even things out now - so I have equal amounts of granola and homemade yogurt!

What your favorite way to eat granola?
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Harvest breakfast

While we sell most of our grapes each year, we do keep a ton for ourselves.  We pick these ourselves with the help from some of our friends and family.  Its a fun day and a lovely experience to be working on the land. After we've harvested the grapes, we sit down outside and share a big harvest breakfast.

I love to prepare food from our produce for the breakfast.  Here's what is on the menu:

All day long oat bites

  • For snacks when people first arrive - to get them ready for work, we made some all day long oat bites. And we will have coffee and orange and tangerine juice to go with them.
  • Then we've made an apple and banana bread.  Naturally we had to try it - and it was tasty - a very moist cake.  It will be served with an almond butter drizzle.
  • I also made some orange marmalade granola and some soy yoghurt yesterday.  I'm going to combine the granola with the yoghurt and some berries to make small breakfast parfaits.  
  • Then there is a fig frittata.  We've had to ration the figs to only 2 each per day for the last couple of days, so that there are plenty to go in the frittata!
  • To get some veggies into us, I'm then trying a hummus and roasted vegetable tart.  Sounds yummy so hoping it'll hold up, being gluten free.
  • And finally - my famous lemon cheesecake - which is free of cheese/dairy!
Apple and banana bread
The frittata has eggs in it (!) otherwise all dishes are vegan, gluten free, and have no refined sugar.

I think it's going to be a good breakfast for our hardworking family and friend crew.

I'll let you know how it all goes.
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Overnight oat berry breakfast parfait



While yesterday's OOO-breakfast is yummy - it is quite sweet, even though it has no added sugar - but the sweetness comes from the bananas and mango.  So I made this version of a 'pretty parfait' - OOBBP, using berries instead and changing the oats a little. If you have a sweeter tooth - you can still use this recipe but go for all strawberries - but I like a bit of tartness so added cranberries as well.


Here's the recipe: 3 servings

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup cranberries (can be frozen)
1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup dairy free milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce

Puree the strawberries and cranberries together until smooth in a food processor.

Place the oats, chia seeds, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl and stir together.  Add the apple sauce and mix thoroughly.

To assemble the parfait, divide approx. half of the oat mixture between three serving glasses/bowls.  Add a layer of strawberry/cranberry puree using approx. half of the puree.  Add the remainder of the oat mixture to make a third layer, and finally top with the remainder of the strawberry/cranberry mixture.  Top with a sprinkle of oats and chia seeds. I also added a dehydrated apple ring.



Put in the fridge overnight, during which time the oats will soften and thicken.  This will last for 3 days....if you can stop yourself eating them for lunch as well - which is what I did!

Again, this breakfast is giving you a good dose of omega 3 fatty acids from the chia seeds - and I used flax milk as well. I have found a flax milk I really like, called Good Karma Flax milk - only 25 calories  and 1200 mg omega 3 per cup serving.


You can use fresh or frozen fruit for this - and any berries that you like. I think it would be lovely with blackberries and raspberries together.  Or strawberries with cooked rhubarb - yum!

Which do you think is prettier? The mango/banana or the berry parfait?  I'd go with the berry - love that bright red coloring with the neutral colored oats.  
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Overnight Omega 3 Oaty breakfast!

O-O-O breakfast!


I'm not sure if you are like me, but throughout the year, I usually stick to one of two breakfasts with maybe just varying the berries on top:    either my homemade gluten free, sugar free, granola or my homemade GF, sugar free muesli.  I think I just want to get up and not really think about creating something first thing - just reach in the cupboard, pull out my cereal and add a few sprinkles and non dairy milk and start eating.

But then I see all these pretty breakfasts in cookbooks and blogs, and all these smoothies, and I get a bit envious.  The taste of food begins very visually for me, so eating things that look good is important.  And yes, faithful granola and muesli - you do look good - but just not as "pretty" as some other breakfasts out there!

So I had the idea to try making something a bit prettier, but doing it the night before - while dinner is cooking. Then when I get up,  it'll all be ready in the fridge, and I won't even have to add milk!

And thus - two new breakfasts came about - that I made while dinner was cooking. Pretty Parfaits!  Today is the sweet mango banana version.  My Triple O breakfast!


Overnight Omega 3 oaty breakfast!

A lovely combination of oats, mangoes, bananas, flax and chia seeds and non dairy milk make up this overnight breakfast.

Part smoothie, part bircher muesli - a breakfast parfait with plenty of omega 3 essential fatty acids from the flax seeds, the chia seeds and I used flax milk as the non dairy milk!

Make it it in the evening, put it in the fridge and its ready for breakfast in the morning.

Here's the recipe (serves 2):

1 large mango or frozen mango pieces
2 bananas
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 cup gluten free oats
4 tablespoons chia seeds
1/3 cup flax milk or non-dairy milk


Peel the mango and cut away the flesh from the stone, or defrost if frozen, and add to a food processor with the bananas and ground flaxseed.  Blend until smooth and creamy.

In a bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds and non dairy milk, stirring well.

Pour half of the mango banana mix in the bottom of two glasses or bowls.  Top with the oat mix, and then add the remaining mango mix as a top layer.  Sprinkle with oats or chia seeds to decorate. Refrigerate overnight.  Serve cold.

Don't try and keep this more than overnight, as the banana in it begins to go a little brown.


This is a wonderful way to start your day with a great dose of omega 3 fatty acids from the flax and chia.  All too often our omega 6: omega 3 ratio is too low in omega 3s, so gives you a good dose in your first meal of the day.  Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory with lots of benefits to your health.

I used white chia seeds in this recipe as I think they look nicer, but you can use black ones instead. Nutritionally, there isn't a difference.

Tomorrow's pretty parfait is a berry parfait instead.  Stay tuned.

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All-day Long Oatmeal Bites

I have been making these oatmeal bites so frequently over the last couple of weeks...but they are always eaten before I take their photograph, so I haven't blogged about them before today!



Anyhow - they are my current favorite bite. You can eat them any time of the day  - from breakfast through to a snack to a dessert after dinner. I love them. They were inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe. They are sooooo tasty.  I made them for our choir retreat and got lots of comments, and everytime someone tastes them, they want the recipe. They are perfect for a breakfast on the go - or even a dinner on the go, as I've taken a couple to the city with me in the evening, to keep me going!


Anyhow, here is the recipe:

Scant 1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1/2 cup cashew nut butter (I use Artisana brand)
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit


Preheat the oven to 350F

1. Mash the applesauce with the cashew butter in a bowl until combined.
2. Add all the other ingredients and stir well.
3. Use a small cookie scoop to shape approx 15 cookies on a lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 14 minutes, until the base is brown.



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Quince breakfast parfait

So have you been out buying up quince this week?  If you live in Northern California - just give me a call and you can have some of mine.


As I mentioned earlier in the week, I made a quince granola by baking gluten free rolled oats, quinoa flakes and puffed brown rice with quince sauce (puree). I also added some cinnamon and allspice to it. It created a nice crispy, no added oil nor refined sugar, gluten free cereal.  So I decided to use it to make a breakfast parfait this morning, layering the granola with spoonfuls of quince puree.


It looked pretty and instead of my usual throw together breakfast, it felt like I had paid attention and seemed like a treat.  If tasted yummy too with a nice contrast of the smooth puree with the crunchy granola.  I like the color of the quince too.  I know most recipes will say quince turns pink, but that seems to only occur if you add sugar.  Personally, I like it's unsweetened custardy yellow color.

So did your breakfast look this good?
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(Mini) Grape Harvest

Linda and Stephen
Last week we harvested our Godello grapes.  We grafted this varietal on 300 vines a couple of years ago and so this is really our first harvest of any quantity of them.

Meta and Jane

Godello is a Spanish varietal of green grapes and not typically grown in the US - except here at Birdland!  We were asked to try growing it by a couple of local wine makers and it was pleasing to see a good crop for them to make our first US Birdland Godello wine.

Don - who later had a bad back!
Instead of using our usual vineyard management group to harvest these, we invited some friends to experience the fun as we were expecting only a ton or so.  However, the Godello were a little more difficult to harvest than we had imagined.

John
As bunches of grapes, they grow as a mass and are quite solid as a bunch - not individual grapes.  Most of the time you can't see where the top stalk is, where you want to cut the bunch off, and they get wound up in the wires and leaves....It therefore took us much longer than we expected to harvest the 1.5 tons.
Ken
We wore out our friends - and ourselves!  Even the harvest breakfast I made (which was all gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free) didn't quite leave us kicking up our heels! I think what would have been better would be to have had a massage therapist waiting for us all!


Tomorrow is the Big Grape Harvest, as opposed to the mini grape harvest. It is of our merlot grapes and we are expecting something like 20 tons!  It is earlier in October than usual for us - the grapes have ripened well.  
Fig Clafoutis
This time, our vineyard management crew will come in  - starting at 4am in the dark!  A few friends will help out by pulling out the leaves in the bins, but we won't be picking as we'd slow the crew down!

Kale puffs
Wish us luck for tomorrow!
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Recipe for healthy gluten free granola

I hope you'll enjoy the following recipe. It is to create a healthy low fat, low sugar, gluten free granola. The recipe shows you how to create a plain granola and then each morning you can add additional fresh ingredients such as fruit, nuts, seeds, etc to create the taste you desire at that time.

Ingredients:
1 cup GF rolled oats
1 cup GF puffed brown rice - I use Erewhon, unsweetened
1 small carton (4oz) unsweetened organic apple sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 375F
2. Mix the oats and rice together and stir in the apple sauce, to thoroughly combine.
3. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and stir well, bringing the edges into the center
5. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.  If it is dry and crispy, remove. If still a bit soft, stir and put back in for a couple more minutes.  Watch it carefully as the edges may burn.
6. Cool and store in a jar for a month.

It isn't sweet but the addition of fruit sweetens it enough for me.  If you prefer, you could add some stevia as sweetener.  My favorite way to eat this is with raspberries and blackberries and a little unsweetened almond milk.

It has a much lower fat and sugar content than granolas you buy - check the labels.

Let me know what you think.
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