One Bowl Nutty Banana Breakfast Bars

I have a love/hate relationship with breakfast.  When I was younger it was the meal that I most frequently skipped, but I got older I began to learn the importance of having a good breakfast.  Having said that, there are still days that I don’t quite practice what I preach and fail to properly nourish myself for the day ahead.  I alway regret it when this happens, so I decided that I needed a recipe that was simple to make, doesn’t require a ton of complicated ingredients and tastes great.  These breakfast bars have become the perfect solution to my breakfast problem.

Filled with many of my favourite breakfast ingredients including crunchy almond butter, nuts and oats, these breakfast bars are a great and satiating snack regardless of the time of day.  High in protein and low in sugar, they have become my most recent breakfast obsession.  On the days when I am not rushing out the door, I like to enjoy these bars with fresh berries and some extra nut butter.  They are also great topped with yogurt and fresh fruit.

It is super easy to make substitutions to tailor these bars to your own personal taste, so consider the directions below loose guidelines to making simple breakfast bars that work for you. Substitute your favourite nut (or a combination of nuts) instead of the almonds and cashews that I used in the recipe below.  If you don’t have chocolate chunks on hand substitute them for raisins.

Ingredients:

1 medium banana, ripened

1 1/2 cups oats

1 egg

1/3 cup crunchy almond butter

1/2 cup organic chocolate chunks

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup chopped cashews

1 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup (you can substitute raw honey if you prefer)

1 tbsp coconut oil

pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper

In a large bowl mash the peeled banana (try to get it as smooth as possible)

Stir in the almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and egg – combine until all of the ingredients are well incorporated

Add the oats and mix well

Add the baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon

Fold in the nuts and the chocolate chunks

Pour the mixture into the baking pan, smoothing the mixture into an even layer

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown around the edges

Allow to completely cool before cutting into squares

Enjoy!

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You can store the squares in an air tight container for up to a week either at room temperature or in the fridge.

I hope that you have a wonderful day!  ❤️XXS

Hot Chia Oats

I often motivate myself to get out of bed in the mornings with plans about what I am going to eat for breakfast.  While I don’t often have a lot of time in the AM, I have developed an arsenal of quick breakfast recipes that are quick, delicious and easy.

Oatmeal has been one of my favourite breakfast foods for a number of years.  It is delicious, healthy and filling – a total winner in my book.  Recently though I decided to up my oatmeal game.  Combined with one of my favourite superfoods chia seeds, lightly sweetened  with some raw honey and topped with fruit (blueberries are my favourite) and a drizzle of almond butter,  it may be super simple but hot chia oats is my new breakfast obsession.

You can make this recipe two ways – you can combine the ingredients in a jar or bowl the night before and store it in the refrigerator as a ready to eat cold breakfast the next morning, but my favourite way is to make it hot.  There is something comforting and nourishing about a hot breakfast (especially oatmeal) in the morning and this hot chia oats dish tastes indulgent but is filled with nourishing and nutritious ingredients.  Love!  Love!  Love!

Hot Chia Oats (serves 1)

1/4 cup of oats

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or whichever type of milk you prefer)

1 teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup (you can adjust the sweetness to your own taste)

pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Combine everything but the honey in a small pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally

Once the chia oat mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and stir in the raw honey (if using maple syrup, you can add it in while the oatmeal is still on the heat)

Top with fruit and your favourite nut butter

Enjoy!!!!!

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

 

4 Reasons Why Chia Seeds Should Be A Staple In Your Diet

Hi Everyone!

There are a handful of foods and spices that I consider staples in my diet.  They support my  health and nutritional goals and keep me looking and feeling great.  One food that I have loved from the first time that I tried it was chia seeds.  These little tiny seeds deliver many health and beauty benefits, so I am often surprised how few people actually eat them on a regular basis.

Native to Mexico, chia seeds was commonly eaten by the Aztecs and the Mayans to help support them through long journeys and during battles.  This tiny little seed is a food powerhouse that provides many vitamins and minerals along with energy, which is much needed to power through long and challenging days.  Here are my top four favourite reasons why you should regularly include chia seeds in your diet:

  1. It’s no secret that I love foods that help me to look good and chia seeds is one of my beautifying favourites.  Chia seeds are incredibly high in antioxidants which helps to repair free radical damage from the inside out along with helping to prevent premature aging of the skin.
  2. Bowel movements are not the pleasant topics to discuss but let’s face it – it is important and completely necessary to good health.  Chia seeds are high in dietary fibre (2 tbsp = 11g of fibre), which helps to promote regularity and a healthy stool.
  3. Chia seeds help to support dietary and weight loss goals as they are filling without a lot of calories.  This will keep you from overindulging later on and avoid any post binge guilt that you may feel.
  4. Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3 which helps to tame any inflammation that you may have in your body.  The western diet is filled with many pro-inflammatory so any food that can help to combat this is something that you want to include in your diet.

Please note that chia seeds should not be consumed dry as it can be hazardous and potentially cause choking.  When mixed with a liquid it expands and becomes a gel similar to tapioca.  It makes a great binder as a replacement for eggs in baking and it is a wonderful addition to smoothies.  For a refreshing energy boost I like to stir a tablespoon of chia seeds into a glass of coconut water and drink it (once the seeds have gelled).

What is your favourite way to include chia seeds in your diet?

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  XXS

Restorative Turmeric Soup

Happy New Year everyone!  A new year is always exciting as they are filled with endless possibilities but ironically January and February are some of the toughest months to get thru.  The cold weather and post Christmas blues are enough to put anyone in a bad mood. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help you successfully navigate these dreary few months with ease.  My favourite is indulging in good (but clean) food.

Soup is a common food staple especially during the colder months.  Growing up, I always considered soup food that you only eat when you are sick.  It was not something that I particularly enjoyed, with the exception of a piping hot bowl of hot and sour soup that I loved on the rare occasions that we went out for Chinese food.  Over the past few years I have started to incorporate more soup into my diet.  I frequently reach for a cup of comforting miso soup whenever I am feeling sick or in need of some comfort food.  And when I have more time I enjoy making my own grilled tomato soup or a clean green soup.  The fact is though is that I have always enjoyed the side dish that I would eat with the soup more then the soup itself – be it crackers, grilled vegetables, roast chicken or cheese on toast.  The moment that the side dish was finished, I would lose interest in finishing my soup.  The soup was never the star of the meal.

All of that changed when I made came across a recipe for turmeric soup on Pinterest. I decided to adapt it to suit my tastes and the results were nothing short of amazing (if I do say so myself).  I normally have two bowls and seriously contemplate a third when I make this soup.  It is hearty, satisfying and delicious – no side dish required.  I am finally a soup convert.

The base of this soup is coconut milk, filled with good fats and incredibly filling and satiating I cannot believe I hadn’t thought to use it earlier in any of my previous soups.  Turmeric is fabulous for lowering chronic inflammation within the body and adds a beautiful colour to this dish.  The original recipe calls for zucchini and I chose to channel my inner Popeye and include spinach as well.  I used frozen chopped spinach for this recipe but fresh works just as well.  Super simple to make, this soup doesn’t require any complicated ingredients, a lot of skill or effort.  It is easy on the digestive system so it won’t leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.  Overall this soup make me happy and leaves me feeling comforted and restored – a total winner in my book!

With a few tweaks this can easily become a vegan dish (omit the fish sauce and swap the chicken broth with vegetable broth) and you can always substitue in your favourite veggies to personalize this dish to suit your taste.

Ingredients

1 can of coconut milk

1 cup of chicken stock

1 cup of frozen spinach

2 -3 small to medium size zucchini

1/2 onion finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tsp olive oil

2 (heaping) tsp of ground turmeric

2 tsp fish sauce

sea salt

black pepper

chilli flakes (optional)

half of a lime

chopped coriander (optional)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium size pot over medium to high heat.  When the oil is glistening add in the onions stirring occasionally  to release the flavours.   Cook  until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).  When the onions are almost cooked thru add in the garlic and stir until the onions and garlic are well combined.

Add in the spinach, zucchini, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and turmeric, mix well.  Stir fry the vegetables in the mixture for a couple of minutes.  The frozen spinach will not completely thaw at this point but don’t worry, it will continue to cook in the broth.

Add in the coconut milk and chicken stock, stir well and increase the heat so that the soup comes to just a boil.  Turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the fish sauce.  Pour into bowls and top with a squeeze of lime juice and coriander.

Enjoy!

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

 

Nutty Dark Chocolate Fudge

I love fudge.  It has been a favourite of mine since I was a child, and to this day I still find it difficult to not indulge every chance that I get.  While I’ve heard that it is relatively easy to make, I have never bothered as the store bought versions are always delicious and I don’t have to clean up after.  Recently though, I came across a recipe for hazelnut fudge on Pinterest that piqued my interest as it used coconut milk and maple syrup instead of the usual (and in my opinion heaven sent) condensed milk.  It was super simple to make and the results were quite good.  I decided to adapt the recipe for the holidays and came up with this nutty dark chocolate fudge recipe.  If you are looking for a quick and easy sweet treat this fudge works perfectly.  While it does contain a fair amount of sugar from the chocolate and maple syrup, it is also rich and dense so you don’t need too much to satisfy your sweet tooth.  I chose to use antioxidant rich dark chocolate (70%), almonds and hazelnuts in this recipe but feel free to swap in your favourite nuts and chocolate to make a version that best suits you.  Depending on the chocolate you use, please be mindful of the amount of maple syrup that you add into the fudge – the sweeter the chocolate the less maple syrup required.

Ingredients:

2 cups dark chocolate (min 70%) chunks or chips

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1/4 cup toasted almond hazelnut butter

5 tsp of maple syrup (if using milk chocolate use 3 – 4 tsp)

pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

1 cup of toasted and chopped hazelnuts and almonds

Here’s what you do:

  • To toast the hazelnuts and almonds place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350 (F) for approximately 5 – 8 minutes, shake the pan half way through.  Let cool then rough chop in a blender
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper
  • In a large pot mix everything but the nuts together and melt over low heat, stirring frequently
  • When the mixture has completely melted and combined gently fold in 3/4 cup of the nuts
  • Pour the fudge into the prepared pan and let cool for approximately 30 minutes , then sprinkle the remainder of the nuts on top
  • Refrigerate the fudge until set (about 2 hours)
  • It’s best to remove the fudge from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cutting into pieces

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!  XXS