As it’s the start of the Easter holidays my thoughts turn to chocolate. I discovered the joys of mixing quinoa with chocolate after finding a recipe by the blogger Chocolate Covered Katie and was intrigued about what it might taste like. It was delicious and has become a firm favourite for breakfast and my favourite way to eat quinoa. I’ve tried various combinations of milk, fruit and flavourings and i’m sure other versions of chocolate quinoa will feature on this blog again very soon.
I find when cooking with quinoa that the liquid can go from looking like too much to practically disappearing within seconds – so do keep an eye on it.
This isn’t the prettiest bowl to look at but don’t be put off, it really is a taste of healthy chocolate and protein for breakfast.
Quinoa cherry choc bowl (serves one)
- 50g Quinoa (washed and drained)
- 150ml almond milk
- 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons cacao powder
- few drops of vanilla essence
- 6 cherries, chopped and pitted
- 1 tbsp. Greek yoghurt
- some extra cherries
- Cacao nibs
Put the quinoa and milk into a pan and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 15-20 mins – you want the quinoa to be really well cooked and soft. Keep an eye on the liquid and add a little more milk if it looks like running dry.
Once cooked, stir in the cacao powder, vanilla essence and 1 tbsp of yoghurt. Stir for a few seconds before turning off the heat. Stir through the chopped cherries.
Serve with the topping.
Yesterday I completed the endurance race that I’ve been training and carb loading for. This meant my post race breakfast this morning needed to be filling and kick-start the restoration of my battered muscles.
I don’t often use protein powder, but I think it does help with recovery after particularly long or difficult sessions. I use unflavoured whey protein which I find bland enough not to add any significant flavour – in fact I’ve had this smoothie minus the protein powder and it doesn’t taste much different.
It may be a while before I’m walking normally but hopefully this is a good way to start.
Super refuel smoothie (serves one)
- 100ml coconut milk
- 200ml almond milk
- 100ml water
- 2 fresh figs
- 1 banana
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 teaspoon almond butter
- 1 dessert spoon of whey protein powder (unflavoured)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
- A good sprinkle of cinnamon
Blend everything together.
You could add a bit more water if you wanted a thinner consistency – but this should slide up a straw nicely.
I love granola and have made various different types over the years. Sometimes the mix comes out of the oven and develops lovely stuck together chunky bits and sometimes it doesn’t really chunk together at all. This one is the latter type, more roasted oats than granola but perfect sprinkled over yogurt. I like this layered up with banana, blueberries and greek yogurt.
I find when making granola that it’s really easy to overcook and burn. I’ve had many mixes where the oats are lovely but the dried fruit or nuts are burnt. So now I add the ingredients in batches to ensure nothing burns.
Coco Choc Roasted Oats (makes a small kilner jar full – 1/2 litre size)
- 100g oats
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 3 tbsp coconut oil – melted
- 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 25g coconut flakes
- 30g dried mango – diced
- 50g raisons
- juice of one lime
Heat oven to 200c/400f/Gas 6. Mix the oats with the cacao powder. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil and make sure the oats are well coated. Evenly spread the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 10 minutes (shake the baking sheet after 5 minutes).
Turn the oven down to 160c/325f/Gas 3.
To the oats, add the desiccated coconut, the coconut flakes and most of the lime juice (save a couple of teaspoons worth). Mix well and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
Then add the dried mango and raisons, the rest of the melted coconut oil (1 tbsp) and the rest of the lime juice. Mix in well and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Take out of the oven to cool before storing in an air tight jar.
I’ve been snacking on this since I made it last night – fortunately there was enough left for breakfast this morning.
Back in the early 80’s my mum started buying All Bran for our breakfast and strangely I really liked it. They had a recipe on their packets for an All Bran malt loaf that I use to make all the time. I lost the original recipe many years ago but I’ve tried to reproduce it a few times. This one seems to work and I cooked it last night so I could enjoy it for breakfast today – of course I did try a sample last night too. It’s lovely with butter and jam, or almond butter and banana or any combination you like. I like a side of orange – it means I get to eat the orange that I used for the grated rind in the same meal, if it lasts that long.
Retro Bran Loaf
- 100g All Bran
- 70g soft brown sugar
- 200g dried fruit (I used a mix of goji berries, raisons and diced apricots. Make sure you dice up any larger dried fruit like dates and prunes.)
- Grated rind of one orange
- 250ml Coconut milk (you can use any milk, but I like this combination best)
- 160g SR flour
- Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
- Mix all the ingredients, apart from the flour, together in a bowl and leave to soak in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Then add the flour and mix well. It will look quite gloopy.
- Pour into the tin and cook for around 40 minutes at 170c/Gas 3/325f
- I have a fan oven so do keep a check – you may need a little less or a little more time.
This doesn’t rise very much as it’s quite a dense loaf – so don’t worry if it looks a bit flat – mine always look flat, as you can see in the photo. It’s still delicious.
Also if you find you’ve added all the ingredients together at the beginning before soaking – including the flour by mistake – don’t worry, I’ve done that! It doesn’t seem to make any difference to the bake.
My diet has been very carb focused for the past few days and today I woke up feeling rather heavy and just wanted something really light. I call this my Resetter smoothie because it’s very low fat, very light and helps me to reset my carb cravings (for a while).
I usually like to use frozen pears as it adds a nice chill to the drink but fresh is good too. I struggle to find pears that are just the right ripeness, they always seem to be too hard or overripe, so when I find some in the shops that are just right, I buy a load, core and chop them into slices and freeze them. They work brilliantly in smoothies.
I added a date because I wanted just a tiny bit more body but you could easily leave it out for a super light drink.
The Resetter Smoothie (serves 1)
- A handful of kale and spinach (that’s one handful, half spinach and half kale, not one handful of each)
- Chunk of cucumber (about 4cm)
- Cube of fresh ginger (about 1cm)
- 1 pear (fresh or use frozen slices)
- 1 medjool date (or 2 smaller ones) – or you can miss this out
- 200ml water (add a bit more for a thinner smoothie)
If you used fresh pear – then add an ice cube or two to the blender to make a cooler smoothie
Blend it all together
I woke up feeling hungry and thirsty – this is happening a lot at the moment due to upping my running mileage. Although to be fair even if I do nothing I always wake up hungry. I wanted a quick filling breakfast so went for my favourite quick smoothie plus some extra toast on the side. I’ve called this my Snicky smoothie because the taste reminds me a little bit of a snickers bar, although probably a little healthier. The spinach lessens the guilt and you really can’t taste it at all.
The Snicky Smoothie (serves one)
- 250ml almond milk (I use unsweetened)
- A handful of fresh spinach leaves
- 1 tsp almond butter
- 1 tsp peanut butter
- 1 medjool date (or 2 smaller ones if you don’t have these)
- A banana (I save a bit of my banana for my toast)
Blend it all together.
This one is for lovers of orange fruits. It’s vibrant and refreshing, definitely a sunny breakfast. It’s quick and easy with a little bit of prep and overnight soaking, then you’re ready to go. I added the cacao nibs at the last minute as I fancied a touch of bitter crunch against the citrus sweetness, but actually it’s good without anything added. I prefer my mix at room temperature, so I took the glow mix out of the fridge before I headed off to walk the dog.
Orange Glow in a glass (serves one)
- Juice and grated zest of one orange
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp goji berries
- 3 dried apricots – diced
- 15g dried mango – diced
- Handful of blueberries (around 50g)
Put all of the above in a bowl, mix it up, cover and leave overnight in the fridge. All the juice will be absorbed by the seeds and dried fruit.
- Natural Greek Yoghurt (I just dollop what I fancy, but it’s probably around 100-150ml
- Raw cacao nibs to sprinkle on top if desired)
In the morning layer up the orange glow mix with the yoghurt and sprinkle the nibs on top.
A lovely bright sunny morning today so coming back from walkies to this glowing glass was quite uplifting.