Monday, 8 June 2015

Confessions of a Breakfastoholic
"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.”
― A.A. Milne
My main man, Winnie was on the money with his views on breakfast, I heartily concur! I absolutely love having breakfast and always give myself plenty of time in the morning to sit down, read a little or listen to some music, and tuck into something delicious. I find the routine comforting and am always at my least anxious in the early hours. I never skip it, in fact I’m more akin to Pippin in The Lord of the Rings looking for “second breakfast”! Being a creature of habit, I alternate between three different options and rarely stray into new territory! Below are the details of the big three!

Option One: Green Mint Smoothie
This has to be my all-time favourite smoothie. Inspired by a Madeline Shaw recipe, it contains mint, spinach, banana and unsweetened almond milk. I find it a great one to have in the morning because of how calming and refreshing it is. Mint is great for aiding digestion and is also a natural stimulant, giving you plenty of energy for the day ahead. The spinach gives it a lovely green colour and also blends really well; if it’s good enough for pop-eye, it’s good enough for me! I feel like bananas have gotten a bad rap of late because of their sugar content. I must admit, that up until about a year ago, I was an ardent banana-avoider, simply because I wasn’t educated enough about them. I didn’t understand that not all sugars are created equally and fructose, the naturally occurring sugar in fruit is broken down much slower than some of its counterparts. It also does not spike insulin, meaning you avoid the sugar rollercoaster (that’s for the evening when I have my barrel of tea accompanied by a purple snack/a galaxy salted caramel bar/copious amount of chocolate hobnobs!) Anyway, enough rambling, here are the ingredients and instructions for the smoothie:
(Serves one…quite generously!)
  • 4-5 leaves of fresh mint (or more depending on preference)
  • Generous handful of spinach    
  • 1 frozen banana (you could just use a fresh one, but frozen makes the smoothie lovely and cold and extra refreshing)
  • 400ml unsweetened almond milk (I’d recommend using unsweetened over sweetened here as the smoothie turns out too sickly if you use sweetened.)
.......This is awkward...blend! Serve in a little jar with a whimsical straw if you want to feel all Cath Kidstony!
Option Two: Baked Oats:
Oats are definitely my most loved go-to breakfast. They’re inexpensive, healthy and rocket fuel for the day ahead! Recently, I watched a segment on Ireland AM about a woman of a hundred years old. When asked for some life advise, she said the diet she lived off all her life is porridge in the morning and red wine at night, a diet I could certainly conform to and a true testament to the benefits of oats. I love them in any way shape or form, but the reigning champion has to be baked oats! If you haven’t tried baking your oats before, do give it a go. Although it does take slightly longer, it really enhances the flavour and is well worth the wait. The bananas get much sweeter and the blueberries get more tart. In this recipe, inspired by author and blogger, Ella Woodward, I use a combination of spices, fruits and nuts to create a delicious petit dejeuner. It’s all down to personal preference however; if you don’t like blueberries, use raspberries or if you don’t like nuts you can leave them out entirely, it’s up to you.
Ingredients (serves one):
  • Half cup oats
  • A splash of almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened will do)
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2tsp cinnamon
Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees celsius. Measure out a half cup of oats and place them in a bowl. Add boiling water until the oats are just covered. Set aside for a few minutes. While the oats are soaking, whiz the walnuts in a blender/food processor for only a second or two (they should still look crunchy). Alternatively, you could just finely chop them. Add the nuts, along with two teaspoons of cinnamon (or more if you'd like) to the oats. Chop up half a banana and add this to the mixture. Add the blueberries, a splash of almond milk and stir. Pour the mixture into a small baking dish and chop up the other half of the banana, placing it on top. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool for as long as your patience will tolerate and enjoy!
*Tip: Some grated nutmeg is also really lovely in this recipe. You can find it in most health food shops, in the English Market, or sometimes in Tiger on Patrick Street. Occasionally, I also like to add a dessert spoon of maple syrup. I use an Irish brand called Louis' Maple Syrup which is a really high quality one, with no additives or preservatives, just 100% pure maple syrup. Until recently, I was unaware of the fantastic health benefits of maple syrup, I just thought it tasted delicious, but it actually contains fifty four antioxidants and is also a good source of zinc and riboflavin, which aids the metabolic process. Anytime I have it, I think of the episode of Friends, where Ross goes do-lally on maple candy, so it gets more of a bonus for giggle value.

Option Three: Layered Yogurt:
This one is super quick, healthy and delicious. It’s also a nice one to make if you have people over for breakfast (which I often do as my dinner making skills are lacking!) It can be adapted according to taste, but my go-to combination is Greek yogurt, blueberries, banana, chia seeds and granola. It’s preferable to soak the chia seeds overnight, but you can do it in the morning, just leave them about fifteen minutes. For such a tiny seed, they’re generating a lot of talk and the moment and for good reason; chia seeds contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals, like OMEGA 3, calcium, iron and magnesium. They are also a good source of fibre and protein, quite the all-rounder! You can eat them on their own (they’re entirely tasteless) but they digest quicker if you soak them in liquid. When you prepare them this way, they puff up and grow in size, just don’t be put off by the texture *insert Irish mammy voice here, they won’t kill you!
  • Chia seeds soaked overnight (2 parts liquid to 1 part chia seed)

  • Yoghurt of choice (I mostly use Liberté)

  • Blueberries

  • Banana

  • Granola or Golden Linseed Crunch (available in Aldi)

  • Honey
*Tip: If you want to be extra fancy, it's really nice to add a vanilla pod to the yogurt.
Starting with the chia seeds, add some to a glass, then add some banana, granola, yogurt and repeat the same process adding the blueberries in the next layer. Drizzle honey on the top and enjoy a fancy pants breakfast ;)
I do hope you've enjoyed this weeks post. I see it as my life's vocation to convert non-breakfast eaters and to show them the light of day, so hopefully I've had some success ;)
Until next Monday,
Amy. x

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