Tag Archives: breakfast

Healthy Granola, Date and Pecans

If you’ve never tried to make your own granola before I highly recommend that you try out this recipe. Homemade granola is healthier for you, cheaper, and much more delicious. Try different combinations or nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I happened to have a surplus of dates and pecans and I find they make a delicious combo. Almonds and cranberries are another favourite of mine.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 + 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional but suggested, adds great flavour)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (optional but also suggested)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix the oats, pecans, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk the oil and honey together over low-medium heat. Add the salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
  3. Pour the mixture over the oat, nut and seed mixture. Stir to completely coat everything with the oil honey mixture.
  4. Place approximately half the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes (depending on how hot your over runs). Remove baking sheet and stir mixture. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and stir again. Repeat this process until the granola is golden, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  6. Cool mixture. Stir in the dates and chia seeds.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin oatmeal

I love when Fall comes around each year because it is stunning with the leaf changes, but I also love the seasonal food items that are available, especially squash. I also enjoy cooking up batches of stews an soups and using warming spices in my cooking such as ginger and cinnamon. This recipe has warming spices and squash and is a real winner! It tastes like pumpkin pie in a bowl and will fill you up in the morning. Using canned pumpkin gives you access to this recipe all year long, not just when pumpkins are in season.

Pumpkins are not only delicious but are also very nutritious. They are high in fiber, vitamin A as well as vitamin K. Vitamin A is recognized as being essential for vision as well as for cellular differentiation, growth, reproduction, bone development, and immune system actions. Vitamin A plays a role in maintaining the adrenal gland and  the synthesis of hormones such as thyroid hormone.

I recommend adding pumpkin seeds to this oatmeal as it helps add interest to the texture as well as added nutrition. Pumpkin seeds have beneficial fats such as linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) and oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) and are a great source of magnesium.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked pureed pumpkin (canned can be used)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup large flake oats (gluten free is necessary)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon (optional, I find gives it a nice flavour. You can add ground nutmeg instead if desired)
  • Pumpkin seeds for serving
  • Honey or maple syrup for serving

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan combine pumpkin puree, water, almond milk, spices and the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the oats, stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Simmer the oats until cooked throughout, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, a drizzle of your natural sweetener of choice (honey or maple syrup are my choices). I’ve added chia seeds as well and Greek yogurt can also be a nice addition.

Making a Smoothie

Breakfast is so important and it is unfortunately a commonly skipped meal. Many people complain that they do not have time in the morning to prepare something. I feel that smoothies are an answer to the morning time crunch because you just throw everything in the blender, blend everything for few minutes and you’re ready to run out the door. Smoothies are very forgiving and you can experiment to find out what combination works for you. Here is a basic recipe to follow and adjust according to what you have and your personal preferences:

Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• ½ banana (can be frozen ahead)
• ½ cup fruit
• 1 tbsp seeds (ground flaxseed, chia, hemp seeds
• 1 tbsp nut butter (almond, cashew, macadamia)
• 1 scoop whey or vegetarian protein powder (find one that has no artificial sweeteners and colouring)

When using ground flaxseed, don’t buy flax pre-ground as it will quickly go rancid. Buy it whole and grind it before adding it into the smoothie. For added convenience, you can peel and half bananas and put them in the freezer. This is especially useful when your bananas are overripe and about to go bad.
I’ve included some smoothie recipes below. You can play around with the amounts of things you add and you can try different flavour combinations. For example, do you find 1 cup of milk is too much for you or you don’t have enough on hand? Try using a ½ cup milk and ½ cup water instead.

Berry Smoothie
Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• ½ banana
• 1 cup mixed berries (frozen are okay)
• 2 handfuls of organic baby spinach
• 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
• ½ scoop protein powder

Directions:
1. Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. It’s helpful to add the liquid first and protein powder last so that items don’t get stuck to the blender blades.

Mango, Avocado and Kale Smoothie
Kale can be bitter and may not be the most pleasant in a smoothie, It is such an incredibly healthy vegetable that it is worth trying to get to like! I would start by adding half of what the recipe calls for and then slowly increasing how much is in your smoothie.

Ingredients:
• 1 cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• 1 cup kale leaves, loosely packed (do not blend the stems, instead rip the leaves from the stems)
• ½ ripe banana
• ⅓ cup mango (you can use frozen)
• ½ scoop protein powder

Directions:
1. Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
• ½ cup unsweetened milk (almond, rice, coconut, oat)
• ½ cup water
• ½ ripe banana
• ½ avocado
• ½ cup frozen berries (can be mixed or a berry of your choice)
• 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
• ½ scoop protein powder
• Optional: you can add 1 tbsp nut butter to vary the flavour and add a bit more protein

Directions:
1. Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. The addition of an avocado makes this smoothie very rich and creamy. If your smoothie is too thick add ⅛ cup water, blend and assess the consistency. Keep adding water until a desired consistency is reached.