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Koha’s Breakfast – Sprinkles Make The World Better

12 Aug
Koha loves sprinkles :)

Koha loves sprinkles 🙂

We often have porridge in the morning for breakfast. It’s quick, easy, and nutritious. It’s also easy to customise and make seem new every day. For this breakfast I put some sprinkles on top of the oats. Koha was so excited by it 🙂

Sprinkles on Oatmeal

Sprinkles on Oatmeal

 

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Easy snack from the supermarket: Porridge pouches

29 Jul
Baby Food Porridge Pouch

Baby Food Porridge Pouch

I sometimes buy these baby food porridge pouches when they’re on special at the supermarket. My favourite ones to buy are actually the organic ones (not the one in the photograph, which was just the one on special at the time) because the organic ones seem to have the best ingredients. These are really convenient as snacks or small meals and Koha loves having them in her lunch box to ‘sip’ on. They are also pretty yummy and nice for adults too 🙂

Greek Yoghurt Bowl

11 Jul
Greek yoghurt bowl

Greek yoghurt bowl

We had this as a treat today: Greek yoghurt, with frozen blueberries and sliced bananas. It’s simple and delicious. I like adding frozen berries because the berries make the yoghurt cold and thick, which makes me think of ice cream. I like how Greek yoghurt is slightly sour, but if you aren’t a big fan you can counter-act the sourness with some honey, maple syrup, or sprinkled stevia. Mmm… Delicious…

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Quick and easy omelettes

10 Jul
omelette

omelette mid cooking, eggs with onion

Yesterday we had omelettes for lunch. Omelettes are super easy and super cheap. Eggs are a good source of fats and protein and scientists claim eggs are one of the best super foods, and we should be eating at least one a day. This is an easy method for incorporating that egg.

Our simple method for making omelettes is to heat a frying pan to medium heat, add some canola oil to the pan, beat the eggs, and then pour the eggs onto the pan. When the omelette cooks, we fold it in half, then flip it once, and then remove it from the heat and serve it up. This simple technique works almost every time, and is so easy. All you need are eggs.

To build your perfect signature dish:

– Decrease fat by adding egg whites, rather than whole eggs. The yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg, but if you are on a diet you might not want so many calories and egg white omelettes still taste nice (especially with onion or vegetables inside the omelette) but have less fat and less calories. Alternatively, you might have one whole egg and 4 egg whites to increase the total protein of your omelette without adding many calories.

– Add flavour before you cook it by throwing in some flavour with the beaten eggs. Suggestions include: onion, salsa, spice mixes, tabasco sauce, salt or pepper.

– Add a topping before folding the omelette, like cheese, tomatoes, spinach, other vegetables, smoked chicken, ham, turkey bacon, or minced meat.

What to do if your omelette breaks apart:

If you have an omelette fail, never fear. They taste just as good even when they look ugly 🙂

Perfect hard-boiled eggs without a timer

10 Jul
A dozen boiled eggs with lion marks visible in...

A dozen boiled eggs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I regularly make hard-boiled eggs because they are so cheap and easy, and a great source of portable protein. Koha loves it when I add them to her lunch box (she won’t even let me peel them as that’s part of her fun), and my husband regularly grabs them for quick snacks.

This is my never fail method, passed down from my mother, for how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs every time, on any stove, without a timer.

Step one:

Get some eggs, put them in a pot, cover them in cold water, and toss in a pinch of salt. The salt prevents the eggs from cracking while boiling.

Step two:

Put on the stove top and turn the heat on high.

Step three:

Wait for the water to boil.

Step four:

As soon as the water is boiling (as in properly bubbling away furiously, not just starting to simmer a little), take the pot off the element.

Step five:

Go dance, or put a load of laundry in the washing machine, or make a coffee. Basically ignore the pot of eggs.

Step six:

When the water has cooled back down to a temperature you would be comfortable sticking a baby into (ie room temperature or a little bit warmer but not hot), drain the water from the pot.

Step seven:

Run cold water over the eggs. This prevents them from getting blue yolks as it stops the cooking process before it goes too far.

Step eight:

Eat, or put the eggs in the fridge or lunch box. Eggs in the fridge last maybe about 3 or 4 days.

 

Simple healthy breakfast: Oatmeal

9 Jul
blueberry oatmeal

blueberry oatmeal

This is what I eat most days for breakfast: oats (made with water) with blueberries, and a little stevia on top. It’s simple, nutritious, and I like it.

My theory is that breakfast is the easiest meal to make healthy. This is because most days I wake up at my own home, so there’s none of that on-the-run stress that might occur later in the day (and send me running to a vending machine or fast food joint). Typical breakfasts are also generally cheap and easy, like porridge.

Some of my favourite toppings for my oats (which I like pretty dry) include:

  • Blueberries or strawberries with stevia
  • Grated carrots, cinnamon and maple syrup (think carrot cake taste)
  • Peanut butter
  • Coconut flakes or cream
  • Yoghurt
  • Peaches
  • Ginger and stevia
  • Cocoa powder and stevia (mixed in while cooking for a chocolate taste)
  • Raisins
  • Chopped nuts and chocolate drops
  • Sugarfree jam
  • Walnuts and caramel (for decadent days)
  • Nutella and strawberries

Stevia: Natural, Low Calorie, Alternative to Sugar

29 Jun
Sweete - a brand that makes stevia in a "sugar" form

Sweete – a brand that makes stevia in a “sugar” form

We use stevia a lot in our baking and when we make coffee or porridge. This is because it’s natural and it has a minimal amount of calories. We particularly like the sweete brand (pictured above) but find it a little expensive compared to other brands which are sold in a tablet form, so we generally use other brands of stevia tablets in hot drinks and save the sweete granules for porridge. I’ve also heard of people buying stevia plants and dehydrating the leaves and using those in their baking. We haven’t tried it, but perhaps in the future we will do that as it sounds amazing.

Refined sugar is so common, but so unhealthy. There are multiple articles on how sugar harms the body, and if you want to make a change in your diet sugar should be high on your list of things to cut out.

If you do want to move away from sugar, the easiest way to do it is to switch to something similar which is better for you – move to stevia or another natural sweetener. Personally, I’m more likely to stay away from sugar when I have something else instead. It’s easier to say “I’ll have stevia” than it is to say “I won’t have sugar”. This is because your mind focuses on what you tell it, if you keep thinking “no sugar, no sugar, no sugar” you are focusing on sugar.. if you think “stevia, stevia” you will actually be able to reduce your sugar intake. There are also a lot of other natural sweeteners you might also like to try including honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, or molasses.

At the moment on the Sweete website, you can sample this product for free: www.sweete.co.nz. I highly recommend you check it out and grab a free sample.  If you hate it, that’s ok. At least you were brave enough to give something new a go.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Protein Pancakes! (Gluten & Lactose free)

29 Jun
Blueberry Pancake

Yum Yum Blueberry Pancakes!

Koha is obsessed with these blueberry pancakes, and if she had her way we’d have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Luckily these pancakes are also very nutritionally dense, and while I wouldn’t recommend them for every meal (way too many egg whites for one day), they are a healthy everyday meal option and can be slipped into the lunch box and eaten cold. This recipe doesn’t have any dairy and, depending on the brand of oats used, are also gluten free. I always laugh when Koha takes these pancakes in her lunch box to creche because they look like they are less healthy than the standard jam sandwiches other children at creche have, but they are actually much healthier. We will post a video of us making these delicious pancakes soon (as I’ve promised Koha we will).

Ingredients: (makes about 4 serves)

– rolled or quick oats, 2 cups
– stevia, 1/4 cup
– baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon
– salt, 1/8th teaspoon
– egg whites, x 6-8 eggs (size dependent) *
– vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon (optional)
– water about 1-1.5 cups, cold or warm but not hot
– blueberries 1 handful 
– canola oil spray

Method:

1: Turn the oats into oat flour by putting them through the blender until fine. Doesn’t need to be perfect, just sorta like flour.

2: Mix all the dry ingredients well.

3: Add in the vanilla & egg whites & mix.

4: Slowly mix in water. You should have a batter about the same as for normal pancake recipes, perhaps slightly thicker

5: Fold the blueberries into this batter. Try not to mix too much because it looks better if you don’t.. otherwise they become blue pancakes instead of white ones with blueberries inside them.

6: Heat frying pan, and lightly spray bottom of pan with canola oil spray.

7: Pour batter into pan. I like to do dollops which are small enough so that the resulting pancake can fit into the toaster.

8: Like with normal pancake recipes, turn when bubbles appear.

9: When cooked remove from pan (when you have made pancakes before you become good at judging this, if you are still unsure of your abilities, the best way is to cook one smaller pancake on one half of the pan, and when it gets bubbles you flip it and pour some more batter on the other half of the pan, when that second one gets bubbles you flip the second one and remove the first one.. and continue that way… at most you burn 1 pancake.)

10: DONE! Either eat immediately, or pop into the fridge and toast them later in the toaster (that’s what my husband will do every morning as I make these babies in bulk), or eat them cold later. You can eat these plain, or add a topping like honey, butter, or peanut butter.

We initially started making these because my husband and I were following a weight training program and diet from www.bodybuilding.com, which required breakfasts of egg whites and oats. This pancake incorporates those main ingredients in an appetizing way. The addition of blueberries (super food!!) packs these pancakes with additional antioxidants, which are really good for maintaining a healthy body and which also support recovery when training or exercising.

Because these protein pancakes do not have any additional protein powders added to them, they are fine for children to have. * To make them even better for children, you should half the number of eggs and use whole eggs instead of just whites, because the yolks of eggs are an excellent source of healthy fat and nutrients which support brain development. You could also try them as waffles by cooking them in a waffle iron, or you could switch the blueberries for something like bananas for a new flavour.