Tag Archives: breakfast

Even more awesome muesli: strawberry and pistachio style!

Just a quick post today to show you guys that I do mix up my daily muesli fix sometimes, depending on what I have in the cupboard, and today it was such a winner. I sauteed the strawberries to make a bit of a (sugarless) coulis but kept the bananas raw to change up the textures a bit, and added roughly chopped pistachios on top instead of my customary flaked almonds. It’s kind of a healthier, everyday version of my ricotta pancakes recipe – basically, I discovered how great strawberries and pistachios taste together and wanted to experiment more. (Also, I have all of these pistachios now). Image

And, although it isn’t immediately obvious from the photo (if you can tell, I am seriously, seriously impressed and confused), I’ve started mixing my oats with half apple juice and half water, instead of all apple juice. It started out as a necessary improvisation when I ran out of apple juice, but I think it’s an improvement – it cuts down on the sugar content a little bit and means you get to taste the oats a bit more, and them oats is dee-licious.

I have exciting new recipes to share (think dukkah-encrusted… oh my god) but now it’s time to put that breakfast energy to good use and go for a quick run before uni! Happy muesli-ing, everyone!

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Almond ricotta pancakes with strawberries and pistachio crumble

It’s pancake day! It’s pancake day! It’s p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p pancake day!

Just me? Okay then.

Such are the joys of being on holidays that, despite it being a Tuesday, I could spend a lazy hour making and savouring these delicious pancakes. I was inspired by a post on Esme and the Laneway featuring banana bread covered in lashings of yoghurt and raspberries and topped with crumbled pistachios. It just looked so pretty (the colours!), and I knew it would taste delicious, too. So I thought, since it’s Shrove Tuesday today, I’d do a pancake version instead. And I think I’ve hit upon a new weekend breakfast standard. These things are way too good to just have once a year…

Almond ricotta pancakes with strawberries and pistachio crumble

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Makes 2 serves

For the pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup white self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp natvia (or 2 tbsp sugar)
  • 2 tbsp light ricotta
  • Cooking spray

For the topping:

  • 200g strawberries
  • 30g pistachios
  • 80g low-fat vanilla yoghurt
  • 20g honey

Mix the two types of flour together in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and quickly stir until well combined. Lightly spray a pan and add 2-3 pancake-size dollops of batter at a time (depending on your mad pancake skills, and/or how big your pan is), turning when the batter starts to bubble. Hull and slice the strawberries and roughly chop the pistachios. When your pancakes are done, stack and assemble: dollop yoghurt on top, drizzle with honey, add your strawberries and top with pistachios.

So. Good. And these babies come in at only 483 calories per serve. And none of this ‘one pancake is a serve’ business – these are decent stacks! They use ricotta instead of butter (it tastes better, I swear – lighter and fluffier, which is ideal for pancakes!), almond milk instead of milk (again – pancakes that taste slightly nutty is a win in my book) and natvia instead of sugar (I didn’t notice the difference). I also substituted half the flour with wholemeal for longer-lasting energy. If I’d made these the ‘normal’ way, they’d be 737 calories per serve. Big difference! That’s the best thing about learning to make healthy substitutions – you can still eat the food you want, you just find ways to make it lighter and better for you. Having said that, I still wanted pistachios on top of these, and I wasn’t about to substitute them for no thing, no how! It’s all about striking a balance. Here’s a list of easy swaps you can make for day-to-day things:

  • Almond milk instead of milk (about half the calories, higher in protein – lower in calcium though, so make sure you’re getting your calcium elsewhere!)
  • Low-fat vanilla yoghurt in place of cream/ice cream with desserts (surprisingly awesome!)
  • Multigrain bread instead of white (Lawson’s seed and grain bread is the bomb)
  • Cottage cheese instead of cream cheese (I used to eat carrot sticks and Philly on a regular basis but cottage is much lower in calories!)
  • Cooking spray instead of oil (it’s the same thing but you use less and get better coverage)
  • Rice crackers instead of potato chips (rice crackers can still be a pretty high-calorie snack as they’re so moreish – check the nutrition label)
  • Brown rice instead of white (takes longer to cook but keeps you fuller longer, so you don’t need as much as you would white rice)
  • Light wholemeal pita bread instead of pizza bases
  • White corn tortillas in place of wheat ones
  • Homemade sweet potato chips instead of frozen chips/wedges (just chop, season and roast – easy as)
  • Multigrain/wholemeal anything instead of white (wholemeal will usually give you longer-lasting energy)

And some cheeky halves I enjoy:

  • Use half beans and half mince instead of all mince when making anything Mexican (lower in calories and cheaper!)
  • Substitute wholemeal flour for half the white flour when baking (see above!)
  • Half wholemeal pasta and half white (wholemeal can take a bit longer to cook – check the packet to be sure)

Substitutions I’ve tried or heard good things about, but have yet to cook myself:

  • Chocolate mousse made with avocado and cocoa instead of eggs (delicious, creamy, vegan, and doesn’t taste like avocados, I swear!)
  • Banana icecream, made out of nothing but bananas (also vegan!)
  • Nutritional yeast instead of cheese (again… vegan)
  • Quinoa instead of rice (higher in protein!)

Do you know of any good healthy substitutions? Or amazing pancake-spiration for Shrove Tuesday?

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Veguary day 5: raisin d’etre

Veguary is rocking my socks. I’ve made a lot of exciting new recipes over the past few days, as well as adjusting my stock-standard easy weeknight meals to be vegetarian, which is forcing me to be a little bit creative! But this post is not about that. This post is about the meal I’ve had by far the most feedback on: my muesli. Oh man, do I love muesli. I happily eat it pretty much every day – during summer, at least. The thought of caramelised bananas and delicious yoghurt is what gets me out of bed in the morning. But change is good, and the other day I was reminded of an amazing breakfast I had in Perth at a super-cute little cafe called Toast. So, I tried my hand at recreating it (with a bit of a healthy makeover, as usual)! Presenting:

Loaded Raisin Toast!

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  • 2 slices raisin bread (try to steer clear of bread that’s sliced super-thickly, sometimes sold as ‘cafe style’, or you’ll add a fair few more calories)
  • 1 banana
  • 100g strawberries
  • 25g light ricotta
  • 5g honey
  • 5g flaked almonds
  • dash of nutmeg

Lightly saute strawberries in a pan until they’ve softened a bit. Toast your raisin bread. Spread ricotta onto the toast, drizzle honey and sprinkle a bit of nutmeg, then load up with banana slices, strawberries and almonds.

I’m not a huge fan of toast in general, mostly because it’s usually served with a bit of spread and not much else. It means that your morning meal – the one that’s supposed to fuel you up to get on with the day – is pretty much all carbohydrate. I try to eat most of my meals according to the quarter plate rule, where half the plate is fruit or veggies, a quarter is protein and a quarter is carb. This take on toast, with the added ricotta and almonds for protein, gets a bit closer to that ideal! It comes out at a nice square 400 calories, too – not bad for a good, filling breakfast!

Light ricotta is pretty brilliant, too – 25g is only 23 calories, and it adds a great creaminess to the dish. I bought it with the intention of making more baked ricotta but it’s awesome with fruit on toast! I may try making ricotta pancakes next – pancake day is coming up, after all…

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Muesli = freaking awesome.

Today’s breakfast is pretty standard for me – or it has become pretty standard in the summer months, anyway. Before I started making a conscious effort to eat healthily, I would usually be running out the door to get to uni on time, and my weekday breakfast was often two slices of toast with Vegemite to be scoffed hastily in the car. Unsurprisingly, I was starving by the time lunch came around, and a mid-morning snack was generally required to tide me over. Two bits of bread just don’t give you the nutrients you need to get you going in the morning; they’ll fill you up for a short time and then leave you needing to eat more. In the end they’re just carbs – and carbs aren’t bad per se, but In the morning, you need protein and slow-acting, low-GI foods so you have the energy to do stuff!

So, my new breakfast routine was born. Muesli!

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This is my ‘holiday breakfast’:

  • 45g multigrain oats
  • 100% apple juice
  • 80g low-fat vanilla yoghurt (I like Dairy Farmers Thick and Creamy 98% Fat Free Country Vanilla)
  • 6g honey
  • 6g flaked almonds
  • 1 banana
  • Non-starchy fruit of your choice – today I went with strawberries, but apricots and nectarines are also winners!
  • Cup of tea

Weigh out your oats in a bowl and add just enough apple juice to soften them a bit, stirring as you go. When you’ve got a nice texture going, leave them to soak and cut up your fruit into pieces. Chuck the fruit into a non-stick pan and sear for 1-2 minutes, then flip over to caramelise the other side. Pour the yoghurt on top of your oats, add a small drizzle of honey and your fruit, and top with flaked almonds. Devour.

The whole thing comes out to around 433 calories, which is damn good for breakfast if you’re planning on doing a bit of physical activity in the morning – it’s delicious and full of good stuff that will keep you going. However, if you’re not having a particularly active day, or you’re looking for something a bit more comforting, might I recommend:

PORRIDGE!

Sounds a bit non-exciting, right? But porridge is just a wintery version of muesli, and like muesli it takes on the characteristics of whatever bits and pieces you feel like piling on top of it. This year I discovered Uncle Toby’s ‘quick oats’ sachets, which are a lifesaver if you’re in a hurry. You rip the top off, pour the contents into a bowl, fill the empty packet up to the line with your milk of choice (I’m an almond milk girl, but we’ll get to that), put that in your bowl, and microwave for 90 seconds. 90 seconds happens to be the perfect amount of time to chop up a banana and some long-life fruit (prunes are great, and not as old-ladyish as they seem, I swear!) and get your almonds ready to go – then BAM, everything goes in the bowl and you’ve got a nutritious breakfast ready to go in less than the amount of time your boring old Vegemite toast would take you.

The breakdown goes like this:

  • 35g sachet Uncle Toby’s multigrain oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 3 prunes
  • 6g flaked almonds

Total: 380 calories.

This was my standard winter pre-uni breakfast for many months, and it got me off to such a good start every morning. I’m a little bit against all these meal plans you see in magazines that have crazy, exciting breakfast ideas – I mean, I love creative food a lot but who has time to pan-sear salmon or make curried avocado before uni, especially if it’s not a recipe you’re used to? Get up, make your damn delicious oaty breakfast with your delicious fruit and nuts and get on with the day, I say. There’s nothing wrong with having a breakfast routine, especially if it’s something that you can wake up and look forward to eating. Which I do, every day, especially when I have time to make my holiday muesli. Mmmm, caramelised banana…

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