Buckwheat Muesli



Did you miss me?  I decided to take January off from blogging as so many other things were going on. Maybe more on that later! ...... But I'm back now - and one year older!! It was my birthday yesterday and I feel just as young as I did on Saturday - so that's good!


It must be the great food I eat :-D


Here's a good breakfast cereal for you to try and see if it keeps you feeling as young as me!


Its made from buckwheat. Little tiny pyramids - as you can see above. Buckwheat isn't actually a grain but rather a seed and is in the same family of plants as rhubarb.  It is a useful crop to grow as it has a short growing period, producing seeds at around 6 weeks which ripen at 10 - 11 weeks. So its great as a fill-in crop, between other crops.


It has reasonably high protein levels (approx 18%) including all the essential amino acids.  It is also rich in iron, zinc and selenium, and rutin.  Rutin is a bioflavonoid that helps strengthen our blood vessels so it particularly useful for varicose veins, hemorrhoids etc and may lower blood pressure.

In this recipe, I've used raw buckwheat.  You can generally buy it either raw or toasted. When it is toasted, it's often called Kasha.  You can also buy it as a flour...and you may have tried it in buckwheat pancakes for an example.



I like the crunch, texture and chew of it in the cereal. You can obviously change up this recipe to use ingredients you like best, so this is just a canvas recipe -that you can adjust to your own particular tastes. For example, I didn't have sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds one time, so subbed 1 cup of walnuts instead.

Hope you'll give it a go:

Ingredients:
120g or 3/4 cup raw buckwheat
90g or 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
70g or 1/2 cup raisins
70g or 1/2 cup sultanas/golden raisins
40g or 1 cup flaked coconut or 40g or 1/2 cup shredded coconut
35g or 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
20g or 1/2 cup puffed unsweetened brown rice
20g or 1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients and you are done! As simple as that.   I don't think it needs any oil or sweetener - just pour some non dairy milk/yoghurt on top and add some fruit, which will sweeten it - and enjoy.

Vegan, free from added sugar, gluten, oil, and good source of omega fats.  Good source of fiber.

Comments (2)

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.)
Comments

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?
Comments

A bowl of connection

When I made jewelry a few years ago, I sold exclusively online.  I had tried selling in galleries and stores but didn't like that I had no connection with the customers.  When I focused on online selling, you'd think I'd have been even more removed but it was quite the opposite.


I made some wonderful connections from customers, blog readers, Facebook readers, etc.  So frequently my customers would tell me their stories and how it related to the piece of jewelry I had made.  I had one guy tell me he was plucking up courage to propose to the girl her loved - even though he was really scared and hadn't told anyone else.  I had people tell me sad stories and how something I made helped them focus on the positive.  It was stunning and a real privilege to get to know people that way.

Since doing my health coaching, I've had less e-connections. Some from my blog, but not as many.   But one of them I do enjoy is with Mary Lou.  She found my facebook page and got in touch.  Now we are keen readers of each other posts.


A week or so ago she posted a lovely sounding recipe called The original Yumm Bowl from Cafe Yumm in Eugene, Oregon.  I thought it looked like a great lunch dish.  It is a Buddha Bowl - if you know what that is. Basically a bowl that starts with a grain like brown rice or quinoa and on top you add different veggies like avocado, black beans, garbanzos, tomato, leafy sprouts etc and then it all comes together by the addition of a yummy sauce.

So I changed the recipe a little - took out the oil and changed the dried herbs and beans to what I had in the cupboard - and delish!


I call it my "bowl of connection" as it was a lovely way to connect with Mary Lou and also because the sauce in the dish connects all the other ingredients together - binding it to create a whole, rather than separate ingredients.


Let me know if you give it a go.  If you do, I know you'll enjoy it. And of course, you can make it yours by adding what veggies and grains you like. I made a to-go version, used brown rice with lentils, quinoa and brown rice, pomegranate seeds, ....whatever was on hand.  A nice flexible lunch.

Hope you enjoy the connection.
For the "Connection" Sauce:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup ground almonds/almond meal
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 cup garbanzo beans
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I used Madras)
2 teaspoons of dried Italian herb seasoning

For the "Connection" Bowl:
Brown rice and/or other grain
Black beans and/or garbanzos
Diced fresh tomato
Sliced avocado
Arugula sprouts or other leafy sprouts or cilantro

For the connection sauce: In a blender, process the almond meal, nutritional yeast, garbanzo beans, garlic, curry and italian herbs together until blended.

Scrape down the side of the blender and then, with the machine running, add the lemon juice and water in a steady stream.  Scrape down the bowl again and blend for 1 minute until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Add more water if you want a runnier sauce.


Refrigerate the sauce as it will be enough for a few dishes.

To assemble the Bowl of Connection:
Put a scoop of rice/grain in the bottom of an individual bowl. Top with the other ingredients around the bowl and then pour the sauce in the center.  Enjoy!
Comments (1)

Quick and easy bran muffins


These healthy bran muffins probably took 30 minutes from start to eating!  Not bad, I'd say.


They were inspired by a box of rice bran I had in the cupboard and that had been in the cupboard quite a while - unopened.    I was sitting fancying a sweet-ish snack and the idea of a bran muffin came into my head.

Each muffin has more than 6g of fiber in it, is gluten free, dairy free - and there's no added oil.



Here's the recipe if you want to make something quick, easy and healthy.

Makes 6 regular size muffins
3/4 cup bran (I used rice bran)
1/2 cup whole grain flour (I used GF sorghum)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
7 tbs non dairy milk (I used flax milk)
1 small pot of unsweetened organic applesauce (4oz)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic raisins

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

Use a silicone muffin tray or muffin baking papers.

In a mixing bowl, mix the bran with flour and baking powder and soda.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine.

Spoon into the muffin cups and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until a toothpick insert inside one, comes our clean, or when pressing the top of the muffin, it returns its shape.

Cool on a rack - if you aren't tempted to eat them while fresh and warm!


The raisins can be omitted or substituted with nuts or other dried fruit.
Comments

Mustard pomegranate coleslaw

I make a big bowl of coleslaw at least once a week.  It's a great way to enjoy cabbage - a cruciferous vegetable and an easy way to add whatever else you have in the fridge.


Today, I made a different style of dressing for it - a mustard dressing.  It gives it a "meaty" sort of flavor. I always think the taste of mustard is suggestive of meat.  When I make my lentil pate, it always tastes like it isn't vegan, because of the mustard.

I have a few staples in my coleslaw recipe and these are:
cabbage (!), shredded
carrots, grated
raisins or sultanas - I love the sweetness of the fruit in there
black cumin seeds - for their immune boosting power





Today I also added:
pomegranate seeds - yes, you can still buy fresh ones at Trader Joes
sun dried tomatoes - my new favorite brand

The dressing was made from:
1 tablespoon yacon syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard



I often also add turmeric to the mix, but my hubby doesn't like it looking quite so yellow, so I held off today so maybe he will have some too! Fresh mint is a great addition too....

It's a great snack, side dish, salad....and lasts a few days in the fridge.  Unlike most coleslaws, it isn't made with mayonnaise or heavy in fat or dairy products.

What are your staples in coleslaw?
Comments

Spring Pesto

I made a no-added-oil pesto this week to garnish a parsnip and cauliflower soup.  I felt the pesto acknowledged that it was now spring and lifted the more wintery flavors of the soup into this early April time.


But then I finished the soup and still had some parsley and spinach left, so made some more pesto and found different ways to use it!...... as a dip, on a sandwich, as a dressing, ...

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup baby organic spinach
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup (packed) flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. If necessary, add more water to achieve the consistency you desire. You may have to stop the processor a couple of times to scrape down the sides so that everything is combined.



Enjoy it on a variety of different dishes! The photo above shows it on a sunflower cracker with sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber and black cumin! A tasty lunch.

You won't miss the oil at all!  The taste of the parsley and lemon just excite the taste buds too much to want oil!

Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in antioxidant flavonoids and is a good source of folic acid.  Chives are a member of the allium family and are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral.  They also contain quercetin which helps reduce histamine and so helps with hay fever and seasonal allergies.

Whip yourself up a dose of healthy green pesto and put a spring in your step this spring time! Your body will love you for it.
Comments

Gluten Free Currant Oatcakes

I've been making oatcakes for a while now.  I just love oats and this week, I've been cooking with whole oats - or oat groats or oat berries...whichever term you use.


But before I share the whole oat recipes, I thought I'd share my oatcake recipe.  It makes a lovely cracker or snack to eat on its own, or to dip into something or to spread something on. Most of the time I eat them on their own.

Previously I've made them with 1 tbsp coconut oil, but today I decided to do a no-added oil version and replaced the coconut oil with 1 tbsp of applesauce. I don't actually taste any difference or see any difference in texture or structure without the oil, so it works well.


You can add whatever dried fruit you like to them - today I used dried currants, but I particularly like dried cranberries in them, or you can use nuts instead or just omit it and make them plain.  Such flexibility! And this time I also added some ground flaxseeds too, for added fiber.

So here is the recipe - in one version - for you to play with and enjoy:


Gluten free oatcakes - makes 14 oatcakes

225g gluten free old fashioned rolled oats (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
25g dried currants (1/8 cup)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
150 ml warm water (3/4 cup)

Heat the oven to 350F/180C.

Put the oats, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the currants and flaxseed.

In a separate bowl or jug, mix the warm water with the applesauce.

Make a well in the center of the oat mixture and pour in the liquid. Mix, until it comes together.  It will seem wet to start with but the oats will absorb the water to give a dough.




Lightly dust the work surface with gluten free flour or ground up oats. Tip out the dough and roll to approx 5mm thick.  Use a small cutter to cut out the oatcakes.  Re roll any trimmings and continue to cut out oatcakes until all the dough it used.  (Cut oatcakes can be frozen, uncooked for up to a month. Freeze flat before packing in bags).






Place the oatcakes on lined baking sheets.  Bake for 20 minutes, turning the oatcakes every 5 - 6 minutes or so, to stop them from steaming and going soggy.

Cool and enjoy!  Let me know if you make them.


Comments

And the winner is..... ME!!!!

I won the Attune Foods Gluten Free healthy recipe competition!!!

I entered a few months ago - on a whim, and didn't think much about it until last week when I got an email and phone call saying I had won the competition!

The idea of the competition was to come up with a healthy recipe using one of Attune Foods cereals.  I used their Erewhon Crispy brown rice cereal and made a marmalade granola.

The announcement just came today on Attune Foods blog:




And my prize was just delivered to my door a couple of minutes ago!  An 11-piece Circulon Symmetry Saucepan set and enough brown rice cereal to last probably the whole year!

Here's the winning recipe - I hope you like it.


GF Marmalade Granola

Ingredients:

1 cup Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice GF Cereal
1 cup GF old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup no added sugar marmalade
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Grated zest half a lemon or orange

Directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Mix the 5 ingredients together in a bowl
  3. Place the mixture on a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper or silpat
  4. Place in the oven.  Remove after 10 minutes and stir thoroughly.
  5. Put back in the oven and cook for another 5 - 10 minutes, watching to make sure the cereal at teh edges of the sheet doesn't overcook.
  6. Leave to cool, and enjoy!
Here are some suggestions for no-sugar-added marmalades:



I have friends coming up for the weekend, so I will make some for them.

It's much lower in sugar than regular granola and also no added fat, which most granolas contain.  The brown rice and oats provide good fiber, protein and help with blood glucose control and cholesterol levels.

What a way to start your day!  Add some berries and some non-dairy milk and you'll stay satisfied until lunch time :-d

Let me know if you try it.

Yeah! It's always fun to win something :-D

Comments

Moroccan bean stew

Chilly nights mean a desire to cozy up with some yummy comfort food.



As I mentioned yesterday, I cooked some garbanzo beans and so used them in a Moroccan bean stew.  As well as the garbanzo beans there are black beans, red lentils and sweet potatoes plus a host of veggies and spices.


It is the combination of spices that brings this dish alive. Ten different herbs and spices to be precise!  They have a lovely sweetness to them. Its a great synergistic effect.

This makes for a really healthy dish including:

  • excellent fiber levels from the beans and lentils
  • very high antioxidant levels from the spices and beans and lentils too
  • plenty of protein from the beans and potatoes
  • good beta carotene from the sweet potatoes
  • anti-inflammatory activity from the Quercetin in the garlic and onion, and the turmeric and fresh ginger
  • anti-cancer activity from the garlic and onion and spices
  • blood sugar control from the cinnamon
  • selenium from the garlic
  • free from added fat, and gluten too - low allergy and vegan.
I made a big pot of it, so it'll keep me going through the week.  Let me know if I can bring you a bowl!  

The recipe comes from Dreena Burton's book "Let them eat vegan".   Moroccan Bean stew recipe.  It has to be the book I use most often of all my recipe books - and you wouldn't believe how many I have! 

I'll be making it again next week in my Food as Medicine class where we are focusing on the health benefits of legumes.

Hope you are cozy tonight.  Take care. 
Comments

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?
Comments

Swimming in tomatoes!

The joy of growing your own fruit and vegetables: you wait for ages to begin harvest, then have masses all at once!
IMG_0216

Even with just two tomato plants, we are nearly overwhelmed with tomatoes! We pick them just about everyday but yesterday seemed to tip me over the edge. We've been managing just eating them raw, but I now know I have to get cooking with them. I'm planning on making some roasted tomato soup and then also trying some tomato sauce. I've never tried that before. Should be fun.

IMG_0217

For today however, I'm roasting some for my lunch and will have them on some gluten free toast.

IMG_0218
They are drizzled with blackberry balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled with homegrown oregano and marjoram. Hmmm. Here's the oil-free recipe. Can't wait for lunch time.

IMG_0226

Recipe: Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
IMG_0227
Ingredients:
Cherry tomatoes
Balsamic vinegar - plain or flavored
Fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, marjoram

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/ 200 degrees C
Halve tomatoes and place on silpat or parchment paper on a baking tray. (It is important to use a non stick surface as no oil is added in this recipe.)
Sprinkle with chopped herbs of your choice
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar
Roast in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes.
Serve warm with crusty bread or on toast.
Store at room temperature for maximum flavor.
Comments

Apple Kisses

I spent a day developing recipes to make apple kisses.  Doesn't that sound a good way to spend a day!

The idea behind creating an "apple kiss" recipe was to make something like a cookie or little cake or tasty light sweet yummy, but use:

  • no dairy
  • no gluten
  • no refined sugar
  • no fat
  • AND find a way to incorporate my new found friends, fruit flours!  
and have something that tastes good!

The creation came first, then the name!  I decided that they needed to be filled and then they just looked like apple kisses!

I made two different types.  The first ones used a combination of brown rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch and apple flour.  I used coconut palm sugar for the sweetener, applesauce, baking powder and some cinnamon.

They were really quick to make and turned out yummy!  I cut each one in half and added some apple non-dairy whipped cream to make little kisses!


For the second variation I tried gluten free oat flour plus the apple flour. I thought it might be a bit crumbly so added some xanthum gum, but they actually ended up a little moist, so maybe this wasn't necessary. Otherwise, the same ingredients were used, but before I cooked them, I flattened them a little.  I initially filled a few with apple butter that I had made and preserved a few years ago (doesn't contain butter!), but I preferred them with the apple cream!



I ended up liking the first variation the best. The second ones were just a bit to moist and gooey for my taste.  But the recipe still needs some work with slight variations so when I've got it better, I'll let you know the recipe.

The sweetener I used has become my recent favorite - Palm sugar or coconut palm sugar.  It comes from the nectar of the coconut palm. I buy the Sweet Tree version which is organic and is not refined i.e. minimally processed.  It contains no preservatives.  It is brown (as it's not been bleached like regular sugar) so using it in an apple product seemed good.  I'm thinking for other flavors the color maybe a bit strong? But that is to try on another day.  

Palm sugar also has a low Glycemic index - of 35 (cane sugar is 68, Honey is 55) - and you can switch it for the same quantity as sugar in recipes.

It's high in potassium, magnesium, zinc and is a natural source of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.

And it tastes good!  Brown sugar like taste with a touch of caramel!  Have you given it a try?

Fancy an apple kiss?
Comments

Food Textures - Crispy

Texture is a very important character of every food we eat or drink.  To many people it is even more important than taste.

If we think of the different textures we distinguish, there is: crunchy, chewy, crispy, juicy, squashy, runny, solid, hard, soft, soggy, firm, creamy, fatty, etc.

The components and ingredients within foods plus the processes they go through determines their textures.

So do you have a favorite texture?  Is there one texture that you tend to prefer to a snack?  In this series of blog posts, I'll be exploring different textures and some healthy snack options that can satisfy those textures. This means that if you crave your usual snack that maybe isn't so healthful, by identifying the texture of the snack, you can try substituting a more healthful snack that has the same texture.

For me, my favorite texture is crispy.  I love that firmness and the sound as you crack through it.  When I fancy a snack, it is crisp that I tend to go for.  In my not-so-healthy eating days, potato chips would be what I'd grab.  In identifying "crisp", it seems similar to crunchy, but the difference is that crisp is something thin, whereas crunchy is a thicker texture.

So I have a few alternatives that I now go to for my crispy fix. The first is Edwards and Sons Baked Brown Rice Snaps.




They come in different flavors but my favorites are the Tamari Seaweed ones. This flavor has no added oils or preservatives. The plain unsalted ones similarly have no oil, but I find them a little too plain! Some of the other flavors have added oil, so read the label. Here are the ingredients.



They have a great snap when you bite into them. They are good for dips and worth a try! I'll share some more crispy healthy snacks with you soon.
Comments

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.
Comments