Breakfast

Overnight chia seed porridge

chiaingredients

As I mentioned last month, I’ve been experimenting with some new breakfast ideas lately. This week, I decided to try eating chia seeds for breakfast. I’m sure you’ve heard of the superfood properties of chia seeds: they are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and a range of minerals including calcium. Chia seeds are also gluten-free and GAPS-legal, making them a great grain-free breakfast option.

To make the chia seed porridge, the chia seeds are simply mixed with coconut milk (or almond if you prefer) and a vanilla bean, and left to plump up in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, just remove the vanilla bean and give the porridge a good stir.

The porridge heats up in just a couple of minutes on the stovetop. I enjoyed mine with some sliced banana, honey, and chopped roasted hazelnuts.

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I also enjoyed eating it cold with some sliced mango.

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It has more of a pudding-like texture when eaten cold. I think it will make a fantastic breakfast in the summer months topped with some sweet and juicy fresh berries.

I am also testing a “to go” version, perfect for office workers or teens with early morning sports training. I made a quarter recipe of the porridge in a jam jar, then added bananas, honey, nuts and mango.

chiatogo

I am also planning to use chia seeds in some muffins I am working on, so watch this space.

Overnight chia seed porridge

1 400 ml can of coconut milk (or same quantity almond milk)

50 g chia seeds (I used white but black is fine too)

1 whole vanilla bean

optional toppings – any fruit, nut, seed, honey, maple syrup, etc

Serves 4 – portions may look small but the porridge is very filling

Combine the coconut milk and chia seeds in a jar with a lid or other closed container.

Slice the vanilla bean in half length-wise. Scrape out the seeds and add to the mixture, then add the pods as well.

Stir, or better yet close the jar and give it a good shake. Refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove the vanilla bean and stir well. Heat up in a pan on the hob or eat cold as is, with whatever toppings you fancy.

 

Breakfast, Eggs, Snacks

Breakfast Muffin Frittatas

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Healthy breakfasts have been on my mind a lot lately. I have been working on quite a few new breakfast recipes for the blog. I have also been trying to shake things up at home with some new breakfast ideas since the new school year started. I even talked with Mark Forrest on BBC Radio about healthy breakfasts a few days ago.

I would love to hear from you about how you keep breakfast healthy and interesting – please do speak up in the comments section.

In the meantime, these muffin breakfast frittatas were a hit at home. I made these with some (leftover) roasted courgette and pancetta but any vegetable, meat or fish would work (as well as cheese for those of you who eat dairy). My kids brainstormed some combinations they would like, so next up will be peas + spinach and potatoes + salmon. I made them for breakfast but they would also work well in a lunchbox or as a snack on the go.

Breakfast Muffin Frittatas

8 eggs

salt and pepper

whatever fillings you fancy – I recommend about 2 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of meat or fish – prepped and chopped

ghee or oil

Makes 12 muffin frittatas

Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Grease a muffin tin or silicone muffin tray with a bit of ghee or oil.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy and season with salt and pepper. Mix in your chosen fillings, then distribute into the muffin tin sections.

Bake for 20 minutes, then allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the frittata muffins from the muffin tin.

Snacks

Kale Chips

kale

Happy new year! Here’s wishing each and every one of you a wonderful 2014 filled with good health and delicious food.

It’s been a year now since I started the blog section of my website. Thanks so much to all of you who have supported me and cheered me on. My most popular post of the year was Slow-Roasted Duck Legs, with 261 hits! I have big plans to continue posting recipes and fact sheets this year. In particular I will be adding more GAPS-friendly recipes, as GAPS has been increasingly significant in my clinical practice.

Kale chips might be a little bit 2013 by now, but they are still easy and delicious. So if you have never made them, I urge you to have a go. I used curly purple kale, but any variety works for this recipe.

Kale chips (adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe)

1/2 of a head of kale (about 6 large leaves)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Serves four as a snack

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Wash the kale leaves and dry in a salad spinner. Tear the leaves into large bite-sized pieces, taking care to discard the tough central stem. Toss with the olive oil in a bowl, then arrange the kale on a baking tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the oven and put the kale on some kitchen paper to blot excess oil. Sprinkle very generously with sea salt, and serve as a snack.

 
News

Healthy snack ideas

snack

I have a lot of ideas for the Resources section of my website that I hope to implement over the next few weeks. One idea I have already gotten started on is a Healthy Snacks page. I’ve begun putting together a list of gluten and dairy free snack ideas that I plan to add to over time. If you’d like to contribute your ideas, I’d love to hear from you – please comment on this post or get in touch.

Most children will be ready for a substantial snack in the mid-afternoon (after school for school-aged children). Younger children may also need a mid-morning snack. My recommendation is to give your child a hearty snack at those times but to discourage grazing at other times – treat snack time as a mini-meal if you will. Your child is more likely to eat well at mealtimes if she has not been grazing throughout the day. And just as you would not serve the same thing for dinner every night (would you?), rotate your snacks as much as you can.

Here is the list so far. I’ll be updating it as new ideas come in over in on the Healthy Snacks page in the Resources section.

  1. carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus
  2. a hardboiled egg, a soft-boiled egg with (gluten free) toast soldiers or a couple of hardboiled quail eggs
  3. a wedge of Spanish tortilla with some cherry tomatoes on the side
  4. a glass of gazpacho *
  5. a handful of edamame
  6. a slice of Brain Food banana bread
  7. trail mix: combine any nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds raisins, dried cranberries, maybe even some dark chocolate
  8. a small bowl of applesauce
  9. a few nori chips
  10. watermelon shapes
  11. a sliced apple with cashew butter – or make it sandwich style
  12. falafel * dipped in hummus
  13. a handful of grapes (in summer try freezing the grapes)
  14. homemade cinnamon apple chips
  15. cucumber or avocado maki, with a little tamari sauce
  16. half an avocado, eaten with a spoon or mashed on some (gluten free) toast with a small amount of olive oil and salt
  17. baked kale chips
  18. peanut butter and honey on a rice cake, topped with sliced banana or pear
  19. stovetop popcorn
  20. a power bar, like this apricot one

All of these snacks are free of gluten and dairy, and suitable for a GFCF diet – but always check labels for any food that is not homemade. I’ve added a * for foods that sometimes contain gluten or dairy, so double-check these or make your own.

Eggs

Spanish tortilla

tortillawine

This recipe will change your life.

potatoes

Vegetarian friends coming over for dinner? Spanish tortilla. Planning a picnic? Spanish tortilla. Your GFCF child is invited to a pizza party? Spanish tortilla.

All of your food dilemmas solved with just one simple recipe.

tortillacook

For a relaxed tapas feast, serve with a selection of Spanish treats such as bellota ham, olives, cherry tomatoes, grilled sardines, chorizo and pan con tomate (toasted bread – GF or regular – rubbed with garlic and tomato).

Just be sure to save some tortilla for tomorrow’s lunchboxes.

tortillabox

Spanish tortilla (adapted from 1080 Recipes by Simone Ortega)

4 large potatoes (such as baking potatoes), around 1kg total

8 large eggs

500ml sunflower oil

salt

Serves 8 or more

Peel the potatoes and slice very thinly. I use the slicing disk of the food processor to do this. A mandolin would also do the trick. Otherwise, time to show off those knife skills.

Heat the oil in a deep-sided, heavy-bottomed 26 cm skillet (or something along those lines). Don’t worry about the vast quantities of oil – most of it will be drained off later.

Carefully tip the potatoes into the hot oil and cook at medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft and very lightly browned – about 15 minutes – then drain in a colander reserving about 3 tablespoons of the oil.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy, then add the cooked potatoes and a generous pinch of salt. Stir well to combine.

Heat the 3 tablespoons of reserved oil in the skillet, then tip the egg and potato mixture back into the skillet. Cook on medium heat, running a spatula around the edges from time to time to prevent sticking, until the bottom of the tortilla is set – about five minutes. Tip the tortilla out of the skillet onto a large plate, then slide back into the skillet to cook the other side – about five more minutes. Slide or flip onto a plate when it is cooked.

Eat immediately or refrigerate and enjoy within 24 hours.