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Heavenly fruit and nut bars (vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free)

In Breakfast Basket, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On May 14, 2016 0 Comments

This recipe is inspired by my recent super easy egg-free breakfast bars. I like the fact that bananas can be used instead of eggs to bind breakfast bars creating a vegan and dairy free alternative. This is also great because you can easily store the bars outside refrigerator without concern, making them great for travelling. Unlike the latter, this recipe is totally Paleo, mostly due to the fact that I now ran out of oats! As I like to say variation is key, and usually when I run out of an ingredient, I allow some time before replenishing it, in order to make sure that I am using other pantry ingredients and thus varying my nutritional intake. I found out that having oats in moderation for breakfast, really spikes my energy, but I still do feel that they are grains and that in the end I am better off without them. 

These bars feel light and soft and if warmed up they give the feeling of eating warm light and fluffy apple cake…yum! These are also great with a dollop of Greek yogurt topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Fruit and Nut bars (Medium)
 

 

Heavenly fruit and nut bars (vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free)
Yields 4
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Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
20 min

Total Time
30 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
20 min

Total Time
30 min

Ingredients
  1. 2 bananas
  2. 1 peeled apple, chopped into chunks
  3. ¾ cup coconut
  4. ¾ cup sunflower seeds
  5. ¾ cup soaked dates
  6. ¾ cup cashew nuts
  7. ¾ cup walnuts
  8. 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start by blending the bananas in a food processor (the S blade gives the best outcome) until bananas turn into a smooth puree.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients except for 1 teaspoon coconut sugar and process further. It is best to use the pulse option or process at short intervals so that some of the nuts remain chunky.
  3. Cover a small dish with oven proof paper and layer the mixture at the bottom. Flatten using the back of a spoon.
  4. If using, sprinkle the remaining coconut sugar (or more) on top being sure not to overdo it.
  5. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes.
  6. I had 4 large bars but you can cut into 8 smaller ones if desired. The small ones are great for snacking whilst the bigger bars are just right for breakfast portion.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

 
fruit and nut bars pinterest
 

Easy Strawberry Jam

In Breakfast Basket, Healthier Alternatives, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On April 26, 2016 1 Comment

This is a very simple jam recipe, far different from the conventional style of making jam. I find it great since it is done without sugar or nasty preserves. It is also fairly easy and quick to make. It’s also the perfect time to make strawberry Jam here in Malta as it’s almost end of season for strawberries. Strawberries now are cheap and ripe, perfect for preserving. You could alternatively use this same recipe with other fruit like berries, peaches, oranges and so on.

strawberry jam (1) (Medium)

Using chia seeds to make jam is a very clever idea. I usually associate chia seeds with chia seed pudding recipes. It never crossed my mind that I could make jam out of this incredible, gelatin forming seed. Thus I would really like to give merit to the original inventor even though I don’t know who she / he is. There are so many recipes online that it’s hard to spot the original one, so thank you, whoever you are! Through this post I am now sharing the version which worked for me.

  

Below is a picture of the strawberries before cooking:

This is how the strawberries will look like when they are complete:

How to use chia jam

Here are some great ways in which you could use this jam and other ideas for using strawberries: 

–          Use this jam in a parfait like this one 

–          Use this jam spread on grain free nut bread. Bread recipe here

–          Use to top these 3 ingredient pancakes 

–          Make these fruit ice lollies 

–          Make flavored water with fresh fruit

–          Use strawberries / jam to top these healthy waffles 

–          Mix strawberries / jam with Greek yogurt and flax seeds. I have posted similar recipes on Instagram.

–          Use in sponge cake

 strawberry jam (2) (Medium)
 

Easy Strawberry Jam
Yields 1
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Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
25 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
25 min

Ingredients
  1. 2 cups fresh strawberries (300g)
  2. 2 tablespoon chia seeds (20g)
  3. 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup for vegan recipe
Instructions
  1. Chop the strawberries into small pieces.
  2. Place the strawberries in a small pan and cook on a low temperature until the strawberries begin to soften and break down. This should take around 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. When all the strawberries have softened (and the mix bubbled up for more than 5 minutes) turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the honey to your liking, stir, then add the chia seeds and stir again.
  5. Transfer the jam mixture into a clean mason jar. Keep stirring from time to time to allow the chai seeds to absorb the mixture uniformly until all the seeds have softened and jam has completely cooled down, before storing in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. If preserving in a sterilised, unopened jar, the jam can keep up to 3 months. Whilst open it is best consumed within 2 to 3 weeks.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

 

Overnight oats

In Breakfast Basket, Vegan On April 12, 2016 2 Comments

Oats again, hello! So, as I have previously mentioned in my breakfast bars recipe , I do like oats for breakfast and even though they are not paleo they are very fulfilling. Here I am in my quest for abs trying to eat as much as good food as possible. Having oats first thing in the morning provides to be great towards keeping me on the go until almost lunch time.

overnight oats portrait (Medium)
 

 
This simple recipe is very quick and versatile. You could add any toppings of your preference, or as most conveniently, add whatever is available in your pantry or fridge. As I like to say, if something is made up of good stuff, it is rather hard not to have a pleasant outcome.

overnight oats landscape (Medium)

 

 

Overnight Oats
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min

Total Time
5 min

Prep Time
5 min

Total Time
5 min

For the overnight oats
  1. ½ cup oats
  2. ½  cup coconut milk (or make your own using this recipe)
  3. 1 tablespoon chai seeds
  4. 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or homemade nut butter using this recipe)
  5. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
For dressing
  1. 1 small banana
  2. some strawberries
  3. coconut flakes
  4. 1 tablespoon flax seeds
Instructions
  1. To prepare the overnight oats just mix all the ingredients in a jar or cup. I usually do this before I go to bed, hence the name overnight. (Check out these awesome maison jars if you don’t already own one)
  2. In the morning just add dressing ingredients. This could include any fruit, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit etc.
  3. Enjoy on the go, whilst relaxing or at work :)
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Super easy egg-free breakfast bars (Vegan)

In Breakfast Basket, Vegan On April 1, 2016 2 Comments

Oats. These are such a debatable product. For any argument in favour you will find an argument against. Whilst I used them a lot my early stages of healthy cooking I then decided to ditch them completely when I was really into Paleo diet. They are grains and sometimes they do make me feel bloated. Now, as with anything else I think that moderation is key and I have introduced them again into my diet in view of their high nutrient content and the filling sensation that they provide. Oats provide to be a good breakfast choice due to their high content of dietary fibre and this combined with the naturally occurring Beta glucan provide a greater feeling of fullness, much more than any other cereal.

oat bars whole

If you are gluten intolerant you will be happy to find a range of gluten-free oats on the market. In reality all oats are gluten free, but buying certified gluten free oats will guarantee that the oats did not suffer any cross contamination.

oat bars side

If on the other hand you are strict paleo replace the amount of oats with other nuts like almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts or macadamia nuts. If you are interested in more Paleo recipes, also known as, grain free, dairy free, and caveman diet recipes perhaps you would be interested in these books. I love them:

                              

You will be pleased to realise that I have used bananas to bind these bars together rather than eggs or honey. I was so happy with the result too.  This will benefit both people looking for vegan recipes and also people wishing to omit eggs due to high cholesterol levels. I am in love with how these bars turned out because for me their texture looks and feels like conventional flap-jacks (cereal bars), just with much less sugar!  

oat bars tray
 

 

Super easy egg-free breakfast bars (Vegan)
Yields 10
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Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
20 min

Total Time
30 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
20 min

Total Time
30 min

Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup or 40g coconut oil
  2. 1 cup or 200g dates
  3. 2 large bananas or 350g with skin on bananas
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (use this healthier version)
  5. 2 cups or 180g oats
  6. ½ cup or 70g pistachios (use raw unsalted kernels)
  7. ½ cup or 30g walnuts
  8. ½ cup or 70g sunflower seeds
  9. ½ cup or 25g cranberries (make your own using this recipe)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C.
  2. Purée the bananas using the ‘S’ blade of a food processor until smooth.
  3. Add in the dates and keep blending until they become finely chopped in very small pieces.
  4. Then add in the melted coconut and vanilla essence and mix/pulse with the food processor.
  5. Add in the oats and nuts to the mixture and pulse again with food processor until most of the nuts are chopped and well combined, scrape the sides of the food processor. Keep pulsing until all the mixture is well combined and a bit sticky. Take the blade out and fold in the dehydrated cranberries by hand, using a spoon.
  6. Line a square baking dish with oven paper, then form a layer with the mixture. Flatten out using the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, taking care not to burn.
  8. When cool, cut into bars using a sharp knife. I had 10 average size bars.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Three minute Paleo chocolate mug cake (gluten-free)

In Breakfast Basket, Sweets and Treats On March 10, 2016 1 Comment

Do you ever crave a piece of homemade chocolate cake but think it’s too complicated, time-consuming or messy to do one yourself? If your answer is yes then I probably just became your new best friend. This recipe is the easiest, mess-free, healthiest quick cake recipe that I’ve come across the web. The outcome is a delicious chocolate cake, ready in 3 minutes, perfect to curb any chocolate craving but at the same time good for your healthy omens. It’s perfect with a cup of tea, and it makes you feel good knowing that it only contains real, healthy and clean ingredients.

3 minute paleo cake Caption

You come across similar microwave mug cakes across Pinterest. However, this one is special since it is paleo and perfect for a clean eating diet without using any flour, sugar or butter. It is also naturally gluten-free.

I would like to give merit to everydaymaven.com for sharing this wonderful recipe. I made only some slight modifications to the cake. Instead of using blanched almond flour I used ordinary ground almonds (known as “intrita pura” in Maltese). Instead of almond milk, I used carton coconut milk. You could also replace maple syrup with honey.

Try this recipe out next time you crave something sweet. You will realise it will make you feel better knowing that you used only natural ingredients but still created a sinful treat!

3 minute paleo cake (Medium)
 

 

3 minute paleo chocolate mug cake
Serves 1
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Prep Time
2 min

Cook Time
3 min

Total Time
5 min

Prep Time
2 min

Cook Time
3 min

Total Time
5 min

Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons ground almonds (Intrita pura)
  2. 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or honey)
  4. 1 tablespoon plain, unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk)
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  7. pinch sea salt
  8. 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a measuring jug or bowl. You can use the mug directly, but this step will prevent from having batter sticking to the side of the mug and allows easier mixing.
  2. Use a fork or whisk to beat ingredients together until well mixed and there are no lumps. Think of this as beating eggs – you want to aerate the eggs a bit to add some lightness.
  3. Pour into a mug or ramekin and microwave for 2 ½ minutes on highest setting. The cake will rise. Use a toothpick to check if the batter has cooked. If the toothpick comes out clean the cake will be done, if not give an extra 30 seconds.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

Raw Carrot Cake Bars

In Breakfast Basket, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On February 24, 2016 4 Comments

Did I ever mention how much I love raw desserts? Raw desserts are great, not only for their added nutritional benefit, but for the ease in preparation and the no cooking factor. Plus, it is very hard to find unhealthy raw desserts simply because to eat something raw, it must not be heated during processing. Thus more often than not raw desserts will include just nuts, seeds, fruit and other super foods.

raw carrot cake 2 (Medium)
If I do not have time to prepare sweet treats I often end up making raw energy bars by quickly throwing a few things in the food processor. Typical ingredients include dates, seeds, coconut, nuts, dried fruits and cacao. Most of the time no measuring is required as you can tell if the bars will hold or not by the consistency of the mixture . If it’s too moist add more dry ingredients, if too dry add some nut milk, water, honey or more soaked dates.
Check out my recent raw bar recipe on Facebook. A preview of these Raw Date & Walnut bars can also be seen below. 

IMG_0009
Since I usually end up having similarly tasting raw bars, I tried to be more creative this time. It is my first time using carrots in a raw dessert and I am very happy with the outcome. This raw cake / bars are so much simpler than the equally delicious baked healthy carrot cake.

So here is the recipe. You can shape it in a round pan for a raw cake, or in a square dish for bars. Remember to store raw desserts inside the fridge.

raw carrot cake 3 (Medium)

 

Raw Carrot Cake Bars
Yields 8
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Prep Time
30 min

Total Time
30 min

Prep Time
30 min

Total Time
30 min

For the bottom layer
  1. 1 cup / 140g / 2 carrots, shredded
  2. 1 cup / 90g oats
  3. 1 teaspoon 5 spice
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 cup / 200g dates
  6. ½ cup / 50g ground flax seeds / linseed
  7. ¼ cup / 50g coconut milk
  8. 1½ cup / 125g shredded coconut
  9. 1 tablespoon / 10g coconut oil, melted
For the top layer/frosting
  1. 2 cups raw cashew nuts
  2. vanilla from one vanilla pod
  3. 1 tablespoon / 7g lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon /15g coconut oil, melted
  5. 50g creamed coconut
Instructions
  1. Start by pre-soaking the cashew nuts for at least two hours.
  2. Soak the dates in hot water for around 20 minutes (time is approximate as you just want them to soften).
  3. Blend the oats in a food processor. When powdered add the remaining bottom layer ingredients except for the coconut oil and coconut milk, then mix well.
  4. Gradually add the coconut oil then the coconut milk until the mixture looks like its holding well together.
  5. Grease the prepared pan with some coconut oil. Using the back of a spoon press the mixture into the bottom of the pan forming an even layer. chill in the fridge until ready for topping.
  6. Prepare the frosting by blending the frosting ingredients together in the food processor until smooth. This should turn into a creamy paste.
  7. Layer the frosting on top of the base and flatten using a spatula or the back of a clean spoon. You can optionally top with some cinnamon and pecan nuts or walnuts.
  8. Store in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving and cutting into bars.
Notes
  1. Please take note that some preparation for soaking the dates and cashew nuts is required for this recipe.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Grain Free Granola

In Breakfast Basket, Vegetarian On April 30, 2015 2 Comments

I have liked the idea of making my own homemade granola since I started noticing the ingredients of the store bought versions. When I started eating healthy, a lot of things were different. Some food that I considered healthy 10 years ago, are no longer on my grocery shopping list. Some of these items are whole grain bread, sweet corn, oats, canned beans and breakfast cereals.

It takes time to change, but as I grew older the perception of what healthy eating was changed. Healthy for me nowadays means eating unprocessed foods, or processing them myself. I try to avoid anything that is highly processed or that has more than one item on the ingredients list. Fresh and seasonal are always the favored items on my shopping list. Unfortunately  marketing campaigns show a totally different picture from reality. They manage to make us consumers believe what they want. You will be amased on how many bluberry products out there do not contain actual blueberries. Crab sticks do not contain any crab meat. The list goes on. It is a shame to label something as healthy despite all the sugars and high fructose corn syrups added to it. Not to mention additives, colors and preservatives. 

 

granola square (Small)

 

I am one of the minorities to see no actual benefits in grains, and consider it as being a harmful substance. I believe that grains aid the development of some diseases and allergies and are one of the culprits of weight gain. Anyone will see a difference in his life when cutting out grains completely, even if for a short term. If you are unsure of whether even healthy whole grains are keeping you ‘fat’, I encourage you to go grain free for a week at first to see if you notice any difference in how you feel. There are a lot of studies backing up this argument and I encourage you to read this article by Wellness Mama if you want to know more. 

 

granola closeup (Small)
 

 

Grain Free Granola
Print

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
30 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
30 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw almonds
  2. 1 cup raw pistachios
  3. ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  4. ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  5. 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  6. 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  7. 3 tablespoons honey
  8. vanilla from 1/2 bean or 1 teaspoon valnilla extract
  9. dash of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcus and line baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Combine coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until dissolved and well combined. You could alternatively melt oil and honey in microwave for 1 minute. Take off heat and stir in salt and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. Combine nuts in a food processor and pulse a couple of times just to roughly break them up. Transfer nuts to a large bowl.
  4. Add the seeds and coconut flakes to the nuts. Toss to combine.
  5. Pour oil mixture into the nut mixture. Use a spoon to combine everything together  making sure the nuts are coated.
  6. Transfer granola onto baking sheet, arranging it in one even layer. Place baking tray in the oven.
  7. Bake granola for 25-30 minutes until dry and golden. Rotate the tray if the granola is browning unevenly.
  8. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let the granola cool completely. It will crisp further as it cools.
  9. Once cooled, break the granola apart into whatever sized chunks you prefer. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

Chia Seed Pudding

In Breakfast Basket, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On February 19, 2015 3 Comments

This recipe is very interesting. The first time I came across it was on Detox Your World but there are many other numerous similar recipes out there. I will give you the recipe as I found it, but you could experiment with adding other wonderful ingredients such as vanilla, cacao, fresh berries, nut butter, fresh fruit, cinnamon, nuts .. the list is endless. Use what’s in your pantry to turn this pudding to suite your taste buds. Some recipes call this Chia Yogurt, but I found it more similar to rice pudding, and if you ever had rice pudding, I can vouch that the texture is very similar.

Chia seeds, similarly to falx seeds, become gooey when soaked. They form a tick gelatin gel around them and grow more than double in size making them a great, appetite satisfying dish. 

A portion of chia seeds i.e. 3 tablespoons, provide 7g of protein, 249 milligrams of calcium, 190 calories and 12g of fat (11g of which are heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). Chia seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon per serving. 

Chia seed pudding square (Small)

Chia Seed Pudding
Serves 1
Print

Prep Time
5 min

Total Time
5 min

Prep Time
5 min

Total Time
5 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup homemade almond milk or any milk of your choice
  2. 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  3. 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  4. 2 tablespoons goji berries
  5. 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  6. 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions
  1. Start by pouring 1 cup of almond milk into a bowl. I used my own home made version but you could use any milk of your choice.
  2. Add the chia seeds, goji berries, coconut, cacao nibs, and honey and gently stir it together and leave to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. After 15 to 20 minutes stir again and then cover up and leave overnight in refrigerator.
  4. The next morning you will find it has turned to a thick consistency, which then can be enjoyed as a superb breakfast option or a delicious healthy treat on the go! Can be enjoyed both chilled or warmed up.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

References:
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/chia-seed-nutrition-4581.html