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Healthy ‘Apple Crumble’ Baked Oatmeal

5 Nov

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This baked oatmeal is so unbelievably good that words can’t even justify it! It tastes like a cross between the most heart warming apple crumble and a hot, gooey cinnabon. It’s like eating dessert at seven in the morning and knowing that every bit of it is oh so healthy for you. Also a huge bonus in my opinion is that it doesn’t call for an egg. I don’t know about you guys but having to add an egg or especially an egg white (What did the poor yolk do wrong?!) to my baked oatmeal is just a big nuisance. I’m always running out of eggs and to be honest I much prefer it without the egg. I don’t actually add any sweetener what so ever to this oatmeal because I don’t have a big sweet tooth for breakfast and the raisins and apple add enough sweetness for me but feel free to add a sweetener or your choice. I would recommend dark brown sugar.

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Healthy ‘Apple Crumble’ Baked Oatmeal (Serves 1)

1/3 cup rolled oats

12-1tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp baking powder

1tbsp flaked almonds

sweetener of choice, to taste (E.g. brown sugar, honey, agave nectar)

1/3 cup skimmed milk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

1/2 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced

2tbsp raisins or sultanas

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf.
  • In a bowl mix together the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, flaked almonds and sweetener if its dry such as sugar.
  • In another bowl mix together the milk, vanilla, diced apple, raisins and sweetener if wet such as honey.
  • I do step 1 and 2 the night before and then mix both together in the morning. This allows the raisins to plump up in the milk but it is fine if you prepare it in the morning.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and transfer mixture to an oven proof ramekin/dish. You can add up to a tbsp more milk if it looks a bit dry.
  • Bake in the oven for 20mins and enjoy, but don’t burn yourself!

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Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups

16 Oct

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This has to be one of the most exciting yet simple dishes I have whipped up in a long time. It uses basic ingredients in a clever way that will just dazzle your taste buds to leave you wanting more. Now I will be the first to admit that butternut squash is not my favorite vegetable because most often it is too sweet and sickly for my liking but in this recipe it is the absolute star of the show.

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Its overly sweet flavor is balanced by a couple of things in this recipe, the spinach, the passata and the feta. The passata works particularly well as its acidic flavor counteracts the squash to perfection. This is a fantastic recipe for vegetarians who are looking for new and exciting recipes or just for anyone who likes getting their socks knocked off by amazing food!

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I use dried lasagna sheets that have to be pre-cooked in this dish but I’m sure fresh lasagna would also work perfectly. The thought of having to roll up lasagna sheets may seem daunting but don’t be put off. It is super easy after the first two or so, everyone is allowed a few disasters! So what are you waiting for, go make it!

Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups (Serves 2 generously)

1 medium butternut squash

5 lasagna sheets

2tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3-4 thyme sprigs, stalks removed

250g frozen spinach

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

350ml passata

salt and pepper

whole nutmeg

30g feta

15g grated parmesan

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350ºf and roast the whole butternut squash on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 1/2hrs.
  • When there is about 30mins left on the squash you can start getting everything else ready. Cook the lasagna sheets according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and thyme and fry over a medium heat for 2-3mins until soft add the frozen spinach and cook for a further 10-15mins over a medium/low heat with a lid until the spinach has broken down and excess liquid has evaporated.
  • Heat the remaining 1tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Fry for 2-3mins until lightly golden. Add the passata and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4mins.
  • Cut the squash in half and scoop out the soft flesh from one half. You don’t need the other half for this recipe but it makes an unbelievably delicious soup! Mash the flesh and season with salt, pepper and a generous grating of nutmeg.
  • Also season the spinach with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • To assemble,place the lasagna sheets vertically in front of you. Divide the mashed squash between the 5 cooked lasagna sheets spreading it out evenly. Then layer on the spinach and crumble the feta on top.
  • Roll the lasagna sheets away from you into fairly tight cylinders and slice in half or even thirds if you want. Place the lasagna roll ups, standing up, in the frying pan with the passata.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan and bake in the oven for 20mins until golden and beginning to crisp.
  • Serve with a fresh green salad and extra parmesan if desired.

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Breakfast Cookie

6 Oct

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I know, most of you are probably a bit baffled by the title of this post and I just want to say, just try it before you judge. You will be convinced the moment the first bite hits your lips. This cookie is not like your run of the mill refined, calorie laden, generally terrible for you but oh so delicious cookie. It has eliminated all the bad and happily been left with just the oh so delicious! The oats are a great slow release energy that keep me going even when I am faced with maths first thing in the morning!

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I personally don’t add any sweetener because I don’t usually like sweet oats but it’s completely up to you. The vanilla protein powder lends it a lovely cookie smell and taste and it feels ridiculously indulgent after adding choc or pb chips even though it isn’t! There is nothing more exciting then biting into melting chocolate chips at any time of the day let alone breakfast time. Children will love this and it is an interesting change up to add to any breakfast collection.

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Breakfast Cookie (Serves 1)

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 level tbsp vanilla protein powder (Or flavor of choice)

1/2tsp cinnamon

1/2tbsp chia seeds

1/2 banana mashed

1tbsp milk

honey or choice of sweetener, to taste (optional)

Toppings:

chocolate chips

coconut flakes

peanut butter chips

raisins

chopped dates

nuts (almonds, pecans etc) roughly chopped

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl including any chosen toppings except chocolate or peanut butter chips.
  • Scoop out onto a microwavable plate and shape into a cookie.
  • Microwave for 1min then sprinkle the chocolate or pb chips over the cookie and return to the microwave for 25sec.
  • Add sliced banana or berries to the top and enjoy!

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Quinoa Oatmeal Bake with Banana, Blackberries and Almonds

15 Sep

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Being back at school has been a real shock to the system as regards to time management. I have been run off my feet for the last three weeks and thinking about what to do for meal times has been the last thing on my mind. So coming up with quick or freezer friendly dishes has been priority at the moment.

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This breakfast bake is exactly what I need. It is so easy to put together and made about 8 servings which I popped into tupperware and can have on the table in the morning in about 2mins. When reheating, it is a good idea to add a drop of water or milk before blasting it in the microwave. It is also crazy healthy and the perfect start to the day, even if the day itself started with me waking up late and running around the house like a maniac… It happens to the best of us, I hope!

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The quinoa injects loads of protein into the dish and the oats keep you going until lunch. You can vary the flavors of this dish by using different berries, nuts and subbing other spices for cinnamon. It would also be gorgeous with some crystallized ginger, which is what I’ll be popping in next time. 🙂

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Quinoa Oatmeal Bake with Banana, Blackberries and Almonds (Serves 6-8)

1 cup oats

1 cup quinoa

3tsp flaxseed/chia seeds

3/4 cup nuts of choice (I used almonds and pistachios)

1tsp baking powder

2tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp salt

1 3/4 cup water

1/2 cup skimmed milk

2tsp vanilla extract

1tbsp fat free natural yogurt

1 egg

2 large or 3 small bananas, sliced on the diagonal

1 1/2- 2 cups blackberries

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf.
  • In a large bowl, mix the oats, quinoa, flaxseed, 1/2 cup of the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.
  • In a jug, whisk together the water, milk, vanilla, yogurt and egg until smooth.
  • Layer most of the bananas on the bottom of a casserole dish, saving some for the top then layer the blackberries over it, again saving some for the top.
  • Scatter the dry mixture over the fruit in an even layer then pour the wet ingredients over to soak in evenly.
  • Top with the reserved bananas, blackberries and nuts.
  • Bake in the oven for 45mins. Divide into bowls or tupperware if freezing. Top with some honey, agave etc. if you want an extra sweetness.

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Homemade Tortilla Wraps

11 Sep

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If, like me, you have always marveled at the magic of a tortilla then look no further. These are honestly so easy to make, not even any tricky yeast in these to catch you out. So there is no reason not to give it a whirl. These are best served hot from the pan as they are still very soft and easy to fold then but will keep for up to three days if you keep them airtight. These don’t have the same leathery feel as some shop bought tortillas, they are much softer and are actually more durable when folding, wrapping and generally over loading your tortillas. They only have to be rested for 30mins and will have all family and friends astounded by your culinary expertise.

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Homemade Tortilla Wraps (Makes about 10)

3 cups plain flour

1tsp salt

1/2tsp baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup hot water

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  • Drizzle in the oil and use your fingers to work it through the flour until it resembles crumbs.
  • Make a well in the middle and pour in most of the hot water. Mix until it forms a soft ball adding the rest of the water if needed.
  • Place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel or cling film and let rest for 30mins. It won’t rise as there is no yeast only baking powder, so don’t worry if you come back and it is the same size.
  • Divide the dough into ten balls and roll each one out into a thin disc on a well floured surface.
  • Heat a large frying pan over a medium/high heat and cook the wraps for 1-2mins or until brown and blistered then turn and repeat on the other side.
  • Serve warm, also suitable for freezing.

Mature Cheddar and Sage Scones

19 Aug

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There is something soothing about going into the kitchen early in the morning and turning simple, everyday ingredients into something magnificent. It really relaxes me and always ensures I have a really calm and happy day. Things are so hectic at the moment because of the Florence trip (I’m soooo excited!) so I really needed something to chill me out, this was the perfect answer. Not only did I have a great baking “therapy” session to start my day but I ended up with these fantastic scones and believe me nothing smells better coming out of the oven then super cheesy scones!

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The sage and mustard are subtle but compliment the cheesy flavors well. The one thing I would highly recommend is that you use really tangy mature cheddar so that you have a real sharpness from the scones. These are great as is or used to accompany loads of different meals such as scrambled eggs for a decadent brunch, a steaming bowl of soup for lunch or alongside a meaty main for dinner.

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Mature Cheddar and Sage Scones (Makes 5-6)

225g plain flour

1tsp cream of tartar

1/2tsp baking soda

a pinch of salt

50g butter, cold and cubed

70g mature cheddar, grated (Plus extra for the top)

1 heaped tsp dried sage

21/2tsp mustard powder

a pinch of salt and pepper

1/4 pint milk, plus a drop extra for glazing)

  • Preheat the oven to 230°c/450°f.
  • Sieve the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the grated cheese, sage, mustard powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Make a well in the centre and add most of the milk. Mix together with a wooden spoon, add the remaining milk if necessary until it forms a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1inch thick, cut into roughly five rounds.
  • Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Brush with some extra milk and top with more grated cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 10mins until golden.

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Crisp Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Polenta Triangles

13 Aug

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I have always been curious about polenta and for the longest time I barely even knew what it was, but I decided it was time to expand my food palate. I always thought the look of grilled polenta looked much more appetizing then the soft version so I went searching for a tasty recipe and found this gem. It is flavored lightly with sun dried tomato and parmesan which brings it up to a whole new level and pairs beautifully with a simple ratatouille. This is a handy dish because is better if made the night before and quick grilled before serving. You could mix all sorts of flavors through this  or even make a sweet version.

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Crisp Sun Dried Tomato and Parmesan Polenta Triangles (Serves 4)

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup polenta/cornmeal

3 sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/4 cup grated parmesan

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2tsp dried basil

1/2tsp dried oregano

1tbsp olive oil

  • Bring  the stock to the boil in a small pot.
  • Take it off the heat and add the polenta, sun dried tomatoes, parmesan, garlic and herbs and mix to combine.
  • Leave until the polenta becomes fluffy and all the stock is absorbed.
  • Grease a round/square baking tin or dish and add the polenta, spreading it out in an even layer.
  • Chill in the fridge overnight or at least 3-4hrs.
  • Cut into slices and heat the oil in a large griddle pan. Add the polenta slices and grill for 2-3mins on each side until crisp and lightly golden.

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