Crunchy Granola

Crunchy Granola

The delicious goodness of home baked ‘Crunchy Granola’

Starting the day with a bowl of home-baked ‘Crunchy Granola’ is something my kids love. For so long I served them bowls of cooked oats for breakfast (because it is my favourite!) and for a long time they happily devoured it …  but then they started to get a little bored with porridge and the complaining and moaning started to creep in each morning. Living in Singapore where it is always hot, also meant it was time to mix it up and  try something new and more suitable to the warmer climate. 

This granola still has all the complex carbohydrates, fibre and goodness of a bowl of porridge but a completely different taste and texture. I love that it’s crunchy but also satisfyingly chewy and moist. Although the oven time is a little longer and I usually cooking smaller batches for best results – this part is flexible. You can cook it at a higher temperature for less time and you can put it all in and mix it up periodically as it bakes rather than small batches. This depend on your available time and individual tastes. 

My family’s favourite ways to eat Crunchy Granola are: 

 + For breakfast with a splash of milk, chopped fresh berries or banana & a big dollop of organic yoghurt

+ Sprinkled on top of a cup of coconut or greek organic yoghurt with a little berry sauce drizzled on {I make the sauce by heating a handful of frozen berries in a pan with a 1/3 cup water until berries are softened and warmed. Then blitz in blender until smooth and runny} 

+ In a breakfast trifle cup with layers of chia pudding, fresh fruit, granola, yoghurt. 

+ As a snack in a small container in lunch box. 

+ Served with some grapes and berries as a pick n mix snack.

 

++++++    Recipe   ++++++

Ingredients:

++  5 cups of organic rolled oats (Gluten Free where possible, or you can substitute rolled quinoa for naturally Gluten Free option)

++ 2 ripe bananas – mashed 

++ 2 apples, grated core and all  

++ Juice from half an orange, freshly squeezed

++ 1/3 cup Coconut oil (or melted organic butter). 

++ 6 dates, pitted and soaked in cup of hot water (then blitzed to a sauce with a stick blender)

++ teaspoon of cinnamon 

Optional: 1/4 cup coconut sugar if you need some extra sweetness (the dates and bananas are usually enough to sweeten it though). 

Optional additions for once baked & cooled : coconut flakes, puffed quinoa, chopped dates, chopped (unsulphered) apricots, dehydrated apple rings, buckwheat puffs, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped seeds.  

 

Method: 

Preheat oven to 140′ C

In a large bowl combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon or your hands. Massage the liquids and fruits into the oats and set aside for a few minutes for the oats to soak up the flavours and soften. 

On a baking tray, roll out a sheet of baking paper (I use a re-usable silicone baking sheet which is naturally non-stick ). Spoon out half the mixture, spread it around the sheet and flatten it down. I usually do this quite unevenly so it gives chunks and crunchy bits as well as larger, softer cookie-like bits. 

Put it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes and then pull it out and check on it. If its still very moist you can put it back in for 10 minute increments but check regularly (ovens tend to vary greatly so best to keep an eye on it first time!). If there are bits on the thinner side that are dry and crispy remove those before putting back in. The best way is to keep trying/tasting small bits until it is to your liking. I like it when it is like little oat cookie chunks / crumbles. You don’t want too much moisture left inside the chunks though as they won’t store for as long. 

Repeat with the remaining mixture until its all baked and broken into spoon size chunks. 

Once cooled you can add any additional extras as listed above or of your own liking and store in a big air tight jar. Can be stored in fridge or in a pantry and lasts around 1-2 weeks (but not in our house!!). 

Now watch it disappear … 

 

 

 

Breakfast smoothies for busy mornings

Breakfast smoothies for busy mornings

Smoothies are the ultimate express breakfast.

They offer a golden opportunity to provide your body with a burst of fresh flavour, nutrients, minerals, enzymes and nourishing goodness in each and every sip. They are fast to make and easy to take with you. When I make them for breakfast I often sneak in a little cooked & cooled porridge, which is undetectable, but adds a thickness. This also means our bodies are getting all the goodness of a bowl of cooked oats or quinoa while we are enjoying our smoothie.

The flavour possibilities are endless.  If there are any ingredients you don’t have on hand or don’t like, then simply omit or replace. It is difficult to go wrong with smoothies. Simply add chopped fruit/leafy greens, a liquid and any additional things liked cooked grains or superfood powders. Taste as you go to ensure you have balanced out the sweet with the bitter or stronger flavours. 

For the mornings when you have time on your hands  you can get your kids involved and creating their own flavour combos.

Here are three of my family’s current faves.

The Green Hulk 

~ 1 banana 

~ 1 cup of coconut water (I prefer the favour of fresh coconut water from a young coconut. If unvail can use bottled coconut water but look at instructions for purity) Can be substituted for almond milk or fresh squeezed apple juice. 

~ 2 green kiwis 

~ Small bunch of leafy greens (such as baby spinach)

* Optional * 1/2 teaspoon of spirulina powder 

Blend all ingredients, drink and power through the day. 

 

Truly Troppo 

~ 1 mango

~ 1 banana 

~ 1 cup of chopped pineapple

~ 1 passion fruit 

~ 1 cup of almond milk or coconut milk 

~ scoop of chia seeds 

~ 1/2 cup of cooked oats (cooled) – this isn’t necessary but I often add it to smoothies if we have some left over in fridge as it is undetectable and thickens it nicely. 

* Optional for added nutrients and minerals : scoop of hemp seeds, teaspoon of lucuma powder, 1 teaspoon of mesquite powder. 

Blend all ingredients and sip beneath  a swaying palm tree (or at least imagine you are). 

 

Berry Beautiful 

~ 1 Cup of mixed berries (fresh or frozen) 

~ 1 chopped magenta dragon fruit (this is a tropical fruit, just leave out if not available where you are) 

~ teaspoon of coconut oil

~ scoop of nut butter (skip if any allergy) 

~ 1/2 cup of cooked and cooled porridge of oats, buckwheat or quinoa 

~ 1 banana 

~ 1 cup of liquid of choice – {eg. coconut milk; nut milk; coconut water}  

Blend, drink and glow! 

 

For other scrumptious breakfast ideas try these:

Berry Chia Pudding 

Beautiful Breakfast Pots

Plum + Vanilla Granola

Grain-Free Pancakes

Making healthy food fun for kids

Making healthy food fun for kids

Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat enough fruit and vegetables?

Sometimes a new way of serving it or a fun way to eat it can ignite their interest and get them excited. 

Children love to have their senses engaged in everything they do. It’s how they learn and connect with the world around them. Shapes, colours, patterns, sounds, texture, smells and anything interactive is a beautiful way to engage their senses.  Kids also have an inherent love of FUN, so anything that has the fun factor will tickle their fancy.

Here are a few of the ways we eat fruit and vegetables and other healthy goodness in our house. These are delicious for us adults too, if you find you’re not getting enough vibrant fruit and veg in your day. 

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1 – Fruity Ice Blocks {Ice lollies // Popsicles} 

We have quite a few different shaped moulds at home and they are in constant use. You can blend the fruit  or use fruit chunks with another liquid. You can also add coconut milk or yoghurt for creaminess. I often use cooled herbal tea as a base – lemon & ginger // chamomile //  peppermint // green tea are all yummy. If you have any leftover smoothie from your breakfast, you can simply pour that in and freeze. It’s easy to sneak some greens in and disguise with a sweeter favoured fruit, I’ve often use carrot and beet juice as the base with some sweet pineapple.  If you need extra sweetness try pure coconut water. Soaked and pureed dates also add a caramel flavour to the creamy mixes. 

2 – Frozen Fruit Sticks – banana / kiwi / watermelon / dragon fruit / rockmelon.

Simply slide fruit onto a kebab stick and freeze. Once frozen, these make the most simple, fun, fuss free ice- blocks  (my kids have been known to wrestle each other to the ground for the last one of these. Not ideal with a pointy stick in their hand, I know!). Our favourites are grapes, watermelon, kiwi fruit and bananas. Once frozen you can add a layer on top of chocolate // for the chocolate – simply mix two tablespoons of coconut oil with teaspoon of raw cacao powder and an (optional)  tiny drizzle of rice syrup. Dip the frozen fruit in and the choc will harden over it like a shell. A pureed date with some coconut oil will give a caramel flavour topping.

 3 – Faces, animals & scenes   

It’s all in the presentation. This is something my children have become masters at. It is a beautiful way to explore and celebrate the shapes and colours of fruit and vegetables.  Make a face, an animal or a scene like a garden or family. Even fruit and vegetables cut with shaped cookie cutters makes a big impression, my kids love the alphabet cutters for making words or names with their snacks. Encourage their beautiful creativity by laying it out aesthetically. It will engage them before they even taste it. The joy of eating something beautiful can not be underestimated. 

4 – Apple Sandwiches 

These are fun! Simply slice an apple through the middle so you can go straight across the core. You can use a very small cookie cutter to stamp out the core or just cut it out with a knife. Spread a layer of nut butter between two slices and put together like a sandwich. Berry + chia jam  also makes a delicious filling. YUM! 

5 – Cucumber sandwiches

Slice cucumber up into rounds and put some filling in between two , so the cucumber becomes the outer part of the sandwich. My little ones have always refused cucumber until I introduced it like this (it may have been my story about fairies eating sandwiches like this that worked, who knows?).  We usually fill it with a cherry tomato, some cheese (feta is yummy!), and some homemade avocado or humous dip. 

6 – Dippity dip – kids love to dip.

Apple dippers with yoghurt. I use full fat,  organic,  greek yoghurt and add my own mashed fruit and pinch of cinnamon for flavour. Other yummy dipping sauces for fruit are coconut yogurt or whipped coconut cream blended with a few drops of vanilla extract. Chia pudding also makes fun dipping sauce. 

7 – Crunchy vegetable dippers 

We love creamy avocado blended with a little yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon and a tiny pinch of sea salt.  Or a homemade humous is always popular. Red pepper strips, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, baked sweet potato fries.  

8 – Smoothies

These are by far my children’s favourite snack. They offer an excellent opportunity to provide protein, healthy fats, nutrients and enzymes form the fresh produce. They are so quick to make and can be taken with you. If you are taking them out, either invest in a thermo drink bottle (I use Klean Kanteen thermos flasks for both my smoothie and to take tea on the go) or if you live in a HOT place like we do, you can freeze them in a freezer-safe container then take them with you and drink while melting but still icy cold. 

9 – Layered pots.

Another favourite for breakfast, lunch,  dinner and everything in between. They can be made up with anything at all,  but a beautiful combo is a layer of chia seeds blended with pureed berries,  a layer of whipped coconut cream (with a few drops of vanilla added) and topped with some homemade granola with coconut, oats, seeds, dried berries, & apple puree. They make a great take out snack if kept cool, I use recycled jars with a screw lid. I often make some when I’m doing lunch and have them for the after school monsters. 

10. Fruity sorbet 

Peel and chop fresh  mango and banana. place in freezer long enough to freeze.  Once frozen blend together with some chilled coconut cream or whole yoghurt and you have yourself some delicious fresh sorbet/icecream. Frozen berries also work well. Add raw cacao powder to plain banana and you have a delicious nourishing chocolate ice-cream. 

11. Pureed/blended fruit, frozen into small ice shapes.

Cook up any stone fruit, apples or pears that is getting very ripe. You can also use berries, banana and add some coconut milk for healthy fats. Then freeze in little shared ice cubes. These are perfect for breakfast melted on warm porridge or hot pancakes, or as a cooling bite sized snack on a hot afternoon. 

These are just some ideas to get started.

 Plenty more coming soon so stay tuned. 

Elisha x 

Raw Banana & Blackberry Tarts

Raw Banana & Blackberry Tarts

This little tart is so delicious! It was created by experimenting with what I had in my pantry and fridge,  so it can easily be adapted to the ingredients you have at hand. It requires no baking which means it is easy for children to get involved too.

It does have natural sugars from the sweet dates, banana and berries but if you are really needing more sweetness you could add a little  brown rice syrup or raw honey drizzled over the bananas and under the blackberry layer. 

To make this nut free you could replace the nuts and nut butters with seeds and coconut & seed butters. The soaked cashews are a little more difficult to substitute and to be honest I haven’t attempted to,  but it may be possible to use a small amount of phsylium husk with blitzed blackberries. Will try this in future and let you know as I am quite interested in how this may work. 

If making small tarts you can use a muffin tin.  I use silicon pans for easy removal but you could  line the metal ones with baking paper. (Keep an eye out for an eco non-bleach baking paper).  You could also use small tarts cases with baking paper on the bottom and sides. The reason you need paper for removal is because they go in the freezer and  will stick to metal when they harden. I use my silicon muffin cases because they are easy and fuss free and suitable for both oven & freezer and simply pop out.

Raw Banana & Blackberry Tarts

(This quantity will make 4-5 small tarts so just double amount if you need more or want to make one large one)

Base:

1/2 cup of nuts –  I used hazelnuts for this but almonds or brazil nuts would work well too and you can also use combination of different nuts and seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower.

3 large medjool dates – Soaked until soft then discard the water.

2 Tbsp of chia seeds

1/4 cup coconut oil – Use cold pressed and organic where possible.

 1) Blitz these ingredients until it is combined and almost dough like with some chunky bits for texture. 

2) Spoon this mixture in equal portions into the bottom of each muffin case and then press down firmly and use the back of a spoon to flatten the surface. 

 

First layer: 

2 Bananas sliced into small circles for layering

I also added a few fresh raspberries but it isn’t necessary.

3) Layer the banana pieces and raspberries (if using) on top of the base and squish into the base.

4) Place in freezer for 1/2 hour  to chill and harden. 

 

Second layer:

1/3 cup of cashews soaked for a few hours {preferably 7-8 hours} then drained

Tbsp cashew butter (or other nut butter)

Tbsp Coconut butter (see note below for how to make you own affordable nut and coconut butters)

Tbsp coconut oil  (as above)

Squeeze of lemon juice 

Handful of fresh blackberries (can add blueberries too if you have them)

PLUS  more fresh blackberries and sprinkle of  shredded coconut for the very top.

5) Place these ingredients  in a food processor and blitz until smooth paste 

6) Spoon a layer over the bananas and place back in freezer for at least 1/2 hour to set. Leave the tart in the freezer until approximately  10 minutes before serving. Give it just enough time to soften but not melt which will be dependant on your climate & season. 

 

Serve with fresh juicy berries tumbled on top and a sprinkle of coconut. 

Enjoy,

Elisha x

 

 

 

 

 

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