Monthly Archives: March 2014

Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bake

Apple Pie Quinoa Bake

Quinoa isn’t actually a grain but you can use it in place of almost any grain, and the includes oats. Quinoa porridge is a great idea but is not so quick to cook – I cook oats in the microwave with some almond milk and they are done in 2 minutes. I’ve made quinoa porridge before by cooking a batch of quinoa in water only and keeping in the fridge to use for various things. You can mix some with a bit of almond milk and some fruit for a quick breakfast, just warming it through. You can toss some into a salad, or you can sauté some into a fried rice style dish. Having a precooked bowl of quinoa in your fridge is no bad thing at all! The only problem is you need to cook it completely flavourless so that it is more versatile.

Enter the Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bake. I wanted a breakfast quinoa dish that was big on flavour, with a little less of that nuttiness that quinoa naturally has. Don’t get me wrong, this dish still tastes a little nutty, but the apple pie flavour is big here. I made this at night and had if for breakfast the following two days and it was so delicious and a real treat to wake up to.

If you like it a little sweeter you can add more maple syrup, or other sweetener, but I try to keep sugar to a minimum. Again, I’m not a huge cinnamon fan so feel free to add more. I like cinnamon to be a nice warming accompaniment to a dish, rather than an overwhelming woody taste. You can also add an extra apple but apples are high fodmap and I can’t really stomach much more than the one. This would also be nice with pear instead of apple. If you are low FODMAP you could sub the apple for mashed or sliced banana or some blueberries.


1 cup Uncooked Quinoa, washed
2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1 Apple (I used Granny Smith as it holds it’s shape)
1 tsp Cinnamon

Put the rinsed quinoa in a small – medium baking dish. Whisk the milk with the syrup and cinnamon, and pour onto the quinoa. Chop the apple into smallish cubes and mix everything altogether. Bake covered with foil at 180/160c fan for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes so that it isn’t too wet and can get a little colour. If you want a golden top you can sprinkle with brown sugar for the last 30 minutes and let that caramelise. You could also sprinkle with chopped nuts for extra nutrition and texture.

This serves 2 – 3. I had a 1/4 of the dish on the first morning and got hungry not long after so it all depends on your appetite.

Apple Pie Breakfast Quinoa


Smoky Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet potato hash

Breakfast in the week is a rush job. It’s something like a quickly blended smoothie enjoyed on the go, some kind of gluten free granola or porridge eaten a bit too fast, or something even worse like a gluten free breakfast biscuit. I don’t have to leave the house until 8am for work but I still find it too difficult to get up any earlier than quarter past 7. The weekend is different though. I get up a little later and take things slow. I still have a lot of smoothies but I enjoy them slowly while I read or watch some TV with my boyfriend. And then there are those days where I feel like a nice cooked brunch.

I had fallen out with sweet potatoes until recently. I kept buying them and they kept going off really fast before I had chance to feel like eating them. I have to be in the mood to eat sweet potato after I went a little crazy and had them all the time. I must have wasted about 3 bags of them this year already, so I was determined to use them up before they went bad this time.

I wasn’t sure what to title this recipe as I believe hash is an American thing but hash works for me. I was more interested in the bright colours here. The more colours in your food (I’m talking colourful fruit and veg, not artificially added junk), the better it is for you, assuming you don’t cook it to death. Now I don’t like the idea of raw sweet potato so forgive me for cooking it, but I started with a light steam so it could be worse.

I’m going to put my hands up and admit I love bacon but there is no bacon here. Infact this recipe is completely vegan and gluten free. Smoked paprika provides the smoky flavour and complements the sweet potato and peppers perfectly. I had this last sunday with a fried egg on top (sorry vegans) and then I had the leftovers tossed with some cooked quinoa for my lunch at work the following day. It was actually still really good cold with the quinoa.

2 small or 1 large Sweet Potato, peeled and cubed
2 cloves Garlic
1 small Red Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 tbsp Oil (I used coconut, the flavourless kind)
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
Pinch of Sea Salt
Optional: Shredded cabbage, quinoa, fried egg.

Sweet potato hash

Steam or boil the potato chunks until only slightly undercooked. Heat up the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in the potato chunks and sliced red pepper, along with the seasonings. Saute for about 10 minutes, until the peppers have softened but are not limp, and the potato has started to take on a little colour.

Alternatively, you could bake this without precooking the potatoes. You would just have to watch that the garlic doesn’t burn, but you would have less washing up and you could leave it to cook while you got on with something else.

Sweet potato hash with quinoa

For low FODMAP you would need to omit the garlic, onion and cabbage. In there place you could use spinach and flavour with something like thyme. You could even sauté some chopped celery for extra flavour. It might be that you can tolerate chives if not onions, so you could chop and sprinkle some over the dish at the end.

Raspberry Chia Pudding and Raspberry Smoothie

This week I finally tried something I have been wanting to try for a long time. Chia pudding! Oh how exciting my life is! I have seen many recipes and got the general idea that you basically need a lot more liquid than chia seeds, and you can then flavour it however you like. So armed with my research, I jumped right in! Now I don’t need to tell you how nutritious chia seeds are unless you have been living under a rock (or maybe I just spend too much time on pinterest); they are crazy good for you! So I have been wanting to add them to my diet for a while. I have been sprinkling a few in my smoothies and I tried the Oh She Glows Granola Bar recipe (See my review here) which had them in, but otherwise I am a bit of a noob.

I like to buy frozen fruit for smoothies and I also like to use fruit to sweeten my recipes without adding sugar, so fruit seemed the best way to go when I wanted to flavour my pudding. Frozen fruit is great because it is frozen when it is ripe and can be stored for a lot longer than fresh fruit without losing all it’s nutrients. I love fresh fruit too but it’s always been sitting on the supermarket shelves too long and ends up being good for about a day before it starts to look past it’s best.

I am also posting my raspberry smoothie here too because my latest frozen fruit purchase was a bag of frozen raspberries so they have found there way into more than one of my recipes. One bag cost me £2 and made about 8 portions (4 smoothies and 4 servings of chia pudding, as pictured). I think that’s pretty good value for money.

So Chia Pudding first as it is the main event:

Chia Pudding

4 tbsp Chia Seeds (for overnight soaking. If you want it faster, add a couple more)
1 cup Frozen Raspberries (or other fruit)
2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Blend the milk, raspberries and extract in a blender until smooth. Mix with seeds and allow to soak overnight. If you are looking for quicker results and are adding the extra seeds, I recommend soaking for at least an hour if you can.

I made this at night and it was good for the next two mornings. It made 4 servings as pictured.

Chia Pudding

Next up is a really tasty smoothie I made. I have also made it with spinach instead of the banana and swapped the milk for coconut water which was really tasty but a lot less filling. I like to buy a bag of organic baby spinach from the supermarket and freeze it as it is. The ready frozen kind is usually cooked a little which is why I freeze fresh. It doesn’t keep so well in the freezer as the baby leaves are fragile but I usually use it up within a week or two so it works fine for me.

Raspberry Banana Smoothie

1 handful Frozen Raspberries
1 Banana
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
1 tbsp Coconut Oil (raw)
Unsweetened Almond Milk

Blend everything up with enough almond milk to achieve the desired consistency. You can add spinach here if you like but it won’t be such a pretty colour. You can also use frozen banana if you would like a thicker, colder smoothie.

Raspberry Banana Smoothie

Oh She Glows Soft & Chewy Granola Bars

Oh She Glows Granola Bars

When I was growing up, a cereal or granola bar was often in my packed lunch. They are one of those foods that pretend to be good for you but are packed with sugar and oil. If I am on the go and need a snack from a shop, I would still choose a granola bar over a chocolate bar as they are usually high fibre, but making your own healthier version at home is the best way to go.

I try to live low sugar and fail miserably all the time; I guess I’m addicted! So when I saw this recipe that is sweetened only with dried fruit and no added sugar or artificial sweetener, I knew it was for me. A lot of recipes use stevia which is natural and low GI, and is great if you are sugar free, but it doesn’t taste like sugar to me. I sometimes use it with sugar so I can use a lot less sugar but all stevia doesn’t taste right to me.

Oh She Glows is a brilliant blog with some amazing healthy recipes. It’s not just full of clean eating recipes, they are creative and exciting. You can visit the blog here: Oh She Glows

I subbed the dates for prunes as I only had prunes in and I know dates are really high in fructose, hence very high fodmap. Prunes are high fodmap too but I didn’t feel too bad after one of these granola bars. I also subbed the cranberries for apricots; again what I had in. The mixture was quite wet which made the bars very soft and moist. It could have been due to prunes being wetter than dates but I’m not sure. Here is what it looked like:

Oh She Glows Granola

Oh She Glows Granola

There are no nuts in this recipe but three kinds of seeds. One of them is Chia seed which is reported to be amazing for you so I was happy to add them here. I am a fan of unprocessed superfoods, by which I mean not processed into a powder or a capsule. Chia is just a natural seed full of nutrients and can be used in recipes like this, or can be used to make a Chia pudding, Chia water, Chia egg replacement. It absorbs liquid and swell up to a lot bigger than it’s normal size so can be used for all kinds of things, including weight loss as it fills you up by holding a lot of liquid and taking up more space in your stomach.

And here are the finished bars:

Oh she Glows Granola Bars

Oh She Glows Granola Bars

You can find the recipe here

These bars are really tasty. They aren’t like you shop bought granola bars but are a great snack. I followed her tip to freeze some as they are quite moist and I can’t imagine them lasting very long out of the freezer. I’m pretty excited to have a stash of these in my freezer for when ever hunger hits!