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10 Minute Organic Banana Cranberry Breakfast Oats February 23 2015, 0 Comments

Occasionally our weekday breakfasts start to feel a bit boring. It's difficult to take as much pleasure in boiled eggs and toasted bread as you would a fried egg sandwich or blueberry pancakes. We started experimenting with quick and healthy breakfast recipes for mornings when a green smoothie just won't suffice.

This is a gluten-free and vegan recipe, full of protein, fibre, omega 3 and antioxidants.

Serves 2 in 10 minutes with 3 easy steps.

Ingredients:

2 slightly green, organic bananas

1 cup organic rolled oats (we use Bob's Red Mill pure, traditional rolled oats)

1/2 cup organic cranberries (no sugar added)

1/4 cup organic sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon milled organic seeds (we use a mix of 50% flax, 25% pumpkin and 25% sunflower)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon Grade A maple syrup 

1 cup organic, unsweetened almond milk 

Method:

1. Place a small pot on your stove over medium heat. Into your pot, cut your bananas lengthwise down the middle and then into bite size pieces. Pour in your maple syrup and stir to caramelise your bananas. 

2. In the same pot, add your almond milk, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, ginger and stir. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until your oats have absorbed must of the moisture from the almond milk. 

3. Last, add your milled seeds and sunflower seeds. Stir to combine and serve. 


Gluten-free Dairy Free Banana Date Bread February 09 2015, 0 Comments

On Sunday afternoon we had friends over for lunch. If you're a friend of ours, you know a meal in our home will always end with something sweet, fresh from the oven. This recipe was thought up Sunday morning for our dairy-free and gluten-free party people. 

 

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (we use Doves Farm gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend)

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 heaping teaspoon cassava starch or xanthan gum (we use isabel's baking fix or Doves Farm)

1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar (we use Tate & Lyle sugars in all of our recipes)

1/3 cup organic caster sugar

 

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic coconut oil (we use Biona cuisine oil) and a little extra to grease your bread tin

3 overripe medium organic bananas 

10-15 organic Mejdool dates 

1 organic large egg

1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar (we use Biona unfiltered)

3 tablespoons organic almond milk 

 

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease your bread tin.

2. In a medium bowl, sift your flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and your cassava starch or xanthan gum.

3. In a small bowl, mash your banana with a fork. Do not over mash. Leaving some larger pieces will give your bread a better texture.

4. Pit your dates and cut into small pieces, about the size or your thumb nail and add them to your mashed banana along with your vanilla extract, almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Stir to mix.

5. In your electric mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, cream your coconut oil until light and fluffy.

6. Add your sugars to your coconut oil and mix throughly. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure your ingredients are well blended. Make sure to do this after each addition. Leaving flour or oil on the sides of your mixing bowl can effect the consistency of your bread. 

7. Add your egg to the sugar and oil and mix until well combined.

8. Add half of your flour mixture to your mixing bowl, stirring until just combined. Then add your banana mixture, also stirring until just combined.

9. Now add the last of your flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of your bowl with your spatula to ensure all the ingredients are well blended. 

10. Pour your batter into your greased bread tin and put in the oven to bake for 35-45 minutes. When your bread is ready, it will be a deep golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides of your baking tin. 

11. Cool your bread in the tin for about 15 minutes, then turn over to remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled, slice and enjoy.

This bread makes a lovely treat on its own for brunch with friends and family, but we like it best served slightly warm with a drizzle of dairy-free salted caramel sauce and a scoop of Co Yo coconut milk yoghurt. 

You can find our recipe for dairy-free, cane sugar-free caramel sauce here: www.megpies.co.uk/blogs/megpies-blog/17096176-dairy-free-coconut-sugar-salted-caramel-sauce


Spiced Apple Crisp November 28 2013, 0 Comments

Today is a good day to tell our loved ones what we are thankful for. With the captivating smell of warm cinnamon, baking fruit and crispy oats making its way through our house, we are thankful for dessert!

 This recipe is the perfect ending to a fine feast or weekend dinner and will serve about 10 impressed guests 

 

Ingredients:

 FILLING

5 pounds (2200 grams) organic Granny Smith or Bramley apples (We buy our fruit from local farmers whenever possible and it is important for this recipe to choose firm fruit that isn't too sweet)

Finely minced zest and juice of 1 organic, unwaxed lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar (We use Tate & Lyle Fairtrade in all of our recipes)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

 

CRUMBLE TOPPING

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (We use Doves Farm)

1 cup organic oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light soft brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (We use Pink Himalayan)    

225 grams cold organic, unsalted butter, cubed

 

Method:

 

Preheat the oven to 180c (350f) and butter a 9 x 14 x 2 inch oval baking dish.

Peel, core, and cut your apples into large wedges.

 

In a mixing bowl, toss the apples in your sugar, spices, lemon zest and juice. Pour into your baking dish. (To save time, this step can be done the evening before, covered and refrigerated overnight. Simply bring to room temperature before adding your topping and baking).

 

To make the topping, combine your flour, oats, sugars, salt and cold butter with a pastry blender or in your mixer on low speed until your topping mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

 

Place your baking dish on a piece of foil or a cookie sheet to prevent the fruit from creating a sticky mess on the bottom of your oven. Bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the filling is piping hot and bubbling.

 

This lovely crisp is best served warm. We like to add a scoop of Booja Booja vanilla ice cream before serving. 


Healthy Asian Chicken Salad November 14 2013, 0 Comments

I've been told to stop calling this my lazy day lunch. I suppose it is a bit too much effort to really be referred to as a lazy lunch, but it is just so simple and delicious. I like to make this salad the day after we have roasted a chicken for dinner, having saved the breasts for this lovely, easy meal. For a vegetarian or vegan salad, simply omit the meat.

 Serves a hearty lunch for two or 4-6 small, side dish portions

 

INGREDIENTS

Dressing:

 2 tablespoons organic coconut or grape seed oil

1 tablespoon organic rice wine vinegar

tiny splash of sesame oil

1 teaspoon organic soy sauce

1 teaspoon organic, freshly grated ginger

2 teaspoons organic honey or agave

the zest and juice of 1 washed, small organic orange

1 garlic clove, very finely minced

1 tablespoon organic cold milled golden flax seed (flax seeds add Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fibre to this dish)

a pinch of coarse sea salt (we like to use pink Himalayan) 

black pepper to taste

 

Salad:

2 roast chicken breasts

1 very large handful purple kale (rinsed, dried and torn) 

1 very large handful organic green kale (rinsed, dried and torn)

1 small head of organic butter lettuce (you guessed it, rinsed, dried and torn)

(feel free to substitute any healthy greens you have on hand)

a sprig of fresh organic mint and coriander, finely chopped

3 large organic carrots sliced finely

1/4 cup organic cashews, roughy chopped

1/4 cup organic peanuts, roughly chopped 

 

1. To make your dressing: In a medium size bowl, vigorously whisk together your dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. You can also use your food processor or blender, but why dirty more dishes?

2. In a large bowl, toss your greens (and purples), carrots, cashews and peanuts.

3. Drizzle on your dressing, toss well and serve immediately.

 

This dressing also makes a lovely marinade for chicken, seafood and BBQ steak.


Winter is on its way October 25 2013, 0 Comments

Autumn has arrived and we couldn't be more excited. Sure, we love the warmth of the summer sun, the sand between our toes and an occasional Mojito, but we welcome the falling leaves, crisp October air and getting to use the "something warm would be nice" excuse for a second cup of hot coffee in the afternoon. However, with Autumn comes the dreaded cold and flu season. We can attempt to avoid the tube for a few months and run from sneezing strangers, but sometimes that common cold is inescapable. 

Any physician will tell you the key to avoiding colds and flu is keeping your hands clean. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes and always keep a good antibacterial gel handy. If you don't already know the nasty truth about most store bought hand sanitizers, please take a little time to research the effects their active ingredients, Triclosan (a chemical used in wastewater treatment and pestisides) and ethanol (pure Ethanol Alcohol.)

Although washing your hands throughly with soap and water is best, this natural, plant-based hand sanitizer is a safe and effective way to help prevent illness. 

This simple recipe is made with essential oils, organic aloe vera and spring water and makes one 60ml/2oz travel size bottle.

Note, it is always wise to be mindful of the senstivity of your skin when using new products.

 

Ingredients and method:

 

60ml/2oz glass or recycled, durable plastic bottle 

 

2-4 drops of the following four oils essential oils:

Cinnamon

Clove

Rosemary

Eucalyptus 

5-10 drops of lemon oil

About 2 tablespoons Organic Aloe Vera

Natural Spring water

 

1. Pour/squeeze your aloe vera into you chosen container.

2. Add your essential oils.

3. Fill the remainder of your container with water.

4. Shake, apply to hands and rub together until absorbed.

  

And now, just in time for All Hallows' Eve, some good, old fashion folklore:

This mix of essential oils is often referred to as Thieves or Burglars blend. It is based on the legend of the four thieves, said to be sons of herbalists, who were captured and charged with robbing dead and dying victims of the plague. The thieves were offered leniency for their crimes in exchange for the secret of how they resisted contracting infection. They told of a special concoction of aromatic herbs and spices they applied, drank and inhaled before and after committing their crimes.

Mystery and historic intrigue aside, studies have determined that several essential oils, including cinnamon, rosemary, clove, lemon and eucalyptus, effectively fight bacteria; specifically six Staphylococcus varieties, including the dreaded MRSA, four Streptococcus strains and three Candida strains. 

Additional info:

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693916/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166445X06003407