If you have been hanging out here for awhile, then you know by know how much I like sweet things. Sometimes I even consider changing this site to one for desserts, biscuits, cakes and stuff… Yes seriously. But I suppose, as great as that may be, I mean I would get to eat ALL those cookies/cakes/treats (!), it isn’t what I really want Straightforward Nutrition to be all about.
Of course having something sweet, once in awhile, is a sure-fire way to feel amazing, yet have too much and it loses its appeal. Back to that elusive balance again…
A few weeks ago my pre ordered copy of My New Root’s AMAZING book. Seriously some people are just geniuses when it comes to food! I love Sarah B’s approach to food and health. Keep it simple, seasonal and delicious. And it’s all about using the best ingredients available. Because when you do, everything will taste delicious.
I’ve already eyed up a couple of things to try. Next, just to find the time to cook through it. Because the book is laid out in seasons rather than breakfast /lunch / dinner / snacks etc. you have to read it from cover to cover to be able fully absorb it all. Once you have that done, then she makes it seriously easy to get into the swing of cooking by season. Which is what we all should be doing really.
Seasonal cooking may seem like a challenge at first but as soon as you step out of your comfort zone and begin to think outside the box, it isn’t that difficult really. And what you find is that seasonal food just taste a million times better! You know this already. Strawberries in December anyone? (Unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere of course…)
I don’t know if these Salt n’ Pepper Oat Biscuits (cookies for you U.S. peeps) qualifies as seasonal cooking. I like biscuits all year round… However this was the recipe from the book that spoke to me first.
I’ve been wanting to make a “healthy” biscuit for a very long time now. A biscuit, with superior ingredients and one with a spectacular crunch! Not the chewy kind… I particularly love crunchy, crumbly biscuits. However most of my own healthy cookie creating attempts, until now, have been futile. Chewy, yes. Crunchy, no.
This biscuit hits the spot. Sarah B’s genial combination of sea salt, coconut sugar and the addition of black pepper gives you an incredible taste experience. Best of all, they are made from straight up ground oats.
To be honest, I haven’t actually tried the original recipe yet… My version is heavily inspired by the recipe in the book but I decided to try it with ghee rather than coconut oil. So these guys are a little different. If you don’t have ghee, you can use normal unsalted butter. Or try the original coconut oil version. The original recipe also calls for chocolate chunks, but since I didn’t have any and they turned out delicious anyway, I’ve left it out.
I’m sure you can find other ways to enjoy that chocolate… 😉
Salt’n Pepper Oat Biscuits
Makes about 15 biscuits / cookies
80 ml melted ghee – or butter or coconut oil
2 heaped tbsp rice syrup
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into flour
1/3 cup coconut sugar – alternative would be rapadura sugar or light muscovado sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
Set the oven to 170 C. Grind the rolled oats in to flour using a decent blender. ( I use my Nutri-bullet) Mix the dry ingredient in a large bowl.
In a small sauce pan, melt the ghee. Then add the brown rice syrup and the vanilla extract. Stir until you have an even mixture. Add your ghee / syrup / vanilla mix to the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon until you have a wet dough. ( Try to refrain yourself from eating too much of this…)
Spoon out blobs of dough onto a lined baking tray. Aim for one heaped spoon of mixture for each cookie. Gently shape the mix into small patties. Bake in the pre heated oven for about 20 min, or until golden around the edges.
Allow the cookies to cool slightly on a the tray before moving to a wire rack to allow to cool completely.
Store your cookies in an airtight container. I really have no idea how long they will keep as mine where gone in three days… A qualified guess? A week.
(Recipe inspired by My New Roots Cookbook – Inspired plant based recipes for every season)
Summer has arrived! Well almost. I’ve been told that 1st of May is officially the first day of Summer. But in reality I think 1st of June is more like it… This past week(s) has been pretty crazy with lots of things to do, places to be and many exciting opportunities and projects coming my way. There is so much excitement and anticipation in the air right now, I find it a little tough to stay grounded at times. Wise from previous life experience, I am mindful not to burn out, which can so easily happen. I’m sure we have all been there… Even when it is positive stress, it can still become to much. Not good.
So what to do? Well, eating well is certainly top priority since we need even more resources to draw from when life is extra busy. However, time is usually a factor, so eating well on the run is an art in itself, I think. OK, so by now you have probably figured out that I love breakfast, like to keep it simple, have a slightly sweet tooth and enjoy spending as long as possible in bed in the mornings. So as much as I like porridge, it’s takes a little too long for my liking. Smoothies are more in line with my time schedule, but not always suitable. Enter Overnight Oats. In a Kilner jar. This is the ultimate breakfast on the run. It takes no time at all to assemble the night before and is easily portable. Goodness in a jar. Extra time in bed. What more can you ask for when life is in full flight?
This recipe is the taste of Summer, with both strawberries and rhubarb in the same dish. I can still remember the big leafy rhubarbs we had growing at home in the garden at the back of the house. Me and my brother used to pick the tender stalks to chew on. Scrunching our faces from the tartness. I can still vividly recall those fond childhood memories every time I eat fresh rhubarb.
This dish has another Swedish element to it as the idea of adding Earl Grey tea to the compote came from a Swedish cookbook I got as a present this Christmas. Earl Grey is my favourite black tea. It has such a comforting feeling and the aromas of bergamot gives a depth which “normal” black tea lack. At least that’s what I think.
Originally I planned to pair this rhubarb compote with a different partner, to share with you. But after using some leftover compote I had made last weekend, with my breakfast earlier this week and loving it so much, I decided to this combination was worth sharing instead. And surely you don’t mind another breakfast recipe?
Have a taste of Summer. Make it portable. Take time to savour it. Visualize all the possibilities which lays ahead in the weeks and months to come. We are almost there. Spring has sprung. Get ready for the next season ahead 🙂
A little note about this recipe; The rhubarb compote will make about four servings. You can pair it anyway you like really. It’s equally nice hot or cold. The compote will keep in the fridge for a few days. Personally I like the addition of chia seeds to my overnight oats as they help soak up the liquid and create a nice creamy consistency. That they are little power houses of nutrition is an added bonus. Use a plant based milk if you wish to keep the dish dairy free and use gluten free oats for a gluten free breakfast option. There isn’t much sugar in this recipe. I have only used honey to stew the rhubarb which also gives them an amazing flavour. No sugar added for the strawberries. If you do find the whole thing a little tart then adjust to your own taste preferences.
Overnight Oats with Earl Grey Infused Rhubarb Compote
For Rhubarb Compote:
4 stalks of rhubarb, washed & roughly chopped
2 tbsp raw clear honey – preferably local
1 Earl Grey tea bag
4 cardamom pods
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste – or vanilla extract
1 tbsp arrow root powder
100 ml water
For Lime Marinated Strawberries:
200g strawberries, washed and halved
juice of 1/2 lime
For Overnight Oats:
Approx 1/2 cup rolled oats, preferably organic – use gluten free if necessary
1 tbsp chia seeds
Milk of choice – enough to cover the oat mixture
Start by marinating the strawberries. Add strawberries and lime juice to a bowl and toss until the berries are well coated in the juice. Place the bowl in the fridge, covered, until you want to use them.
To make the Rhubarb Compote: Add the chopped rhubarb to a large heavy based saucepan. Add in the honey and stir until the rhubarb is well coated. Stew them gently on a medium heat until yo have a creamy consistency of rhubarb deliciousness. It will take about 30min. Once your compote is almost smooth, remove from heat. In the meantime make your tea by putting the tea bag plus the cardamom pods in a mug. Add about 100ml of boiling water. Cover the mug with a small plate and let the whole thing infuse for about 5 min. Take out the tea bag and pods before adding the tea to the rhubarb compote.
To thicken the compote mix 1 tbsp arrow root powder with 1 tbsp water in a glass, into a thick paste. Add the arrow root paste to the rhubarb compote and stir until it has thickened up. It will take about a minute. Add the vanilla bean paste in last thing and give the whole thing another whirl. You can serve the compote as it is, warm with anything creamy or keep it plain. To use it with your overnight oats for the following day, let it cool completely before you add it to the Kilner jar.
I have found using a Kilner jar the very best for practicality, so getting one is well worth the investment. Start by adding the rhubarb compote as the bottom layer. The add your rolled oats, plus chia seeds. Pour your choice of milk on top of the oats until just covered. Give the whole thing a twist with a spoon to get the chia seeds to spread evenly amongst the oats. Close the lid and store your jar in the fridge overnight. In the morning, just take the jar from the fridge and top with your lime marinated strawberries. Indulge having a dessert for breakfast. If you are on the run – simply grab and go for a date with Summer later.
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…