Nosh

Not Your Ordinary Oatmeal!

I’m not sure how it happened but my little guy loves oatmeal.  He requests it at least 4 out of 7 mornings and his favourite way to eat it is with cinnamon and raisins!  I like to introduce him to new flavours though and oatmeal is an amazing base to build from.  We prefer our oatmeal served hot, although there are fantastic options for overnight oats if you’re pressed for time in the morning! Oats are one of the healthiest grains.  They are gluten free and rich in antioxidants, fibre and many nutrients and vitamins.  They are great in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, they help you to feel fuller longer aiding in weight loss plus they offer a lot of benefits to your natural gut health as they aid in good bacteria growth. Oatmeal for breakfast (or anytime of day) is a win-win!

I usually cook my slow-cooking rolled oats in milk (dairy or nut) with a pinch of salt although sometimes I just use water and salt and sometimes I add some other grain blends such as Red River Porridge Cereal Mix or even just chia or flax seeds.  I love the versatility of oatmeal and I know my little one is getting a good portion of whole grains in his bowl.  It’s especially comforting in these cold winter months and it truly is an easy go-to for breakfasts and sometimes even a hearty snack.

Here’s a few recipes I like to enjoy:

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Apple Cinnamon and Raisin Oatmeal.  (Tried and true, E’s favourite way to enjoy his oatmeal! He loves to add diced up fresh apples and sometimes even dried cranberries or ‘bugs’ as he calls them!)

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Tomato, Basil Breakfast Bowl.  (My favourite way to enjoy oatmeal is untraditional and savoury!) Unsweetened oats with a generous dollop of basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, chèvre and topped with a fried egg and salt and pepper.

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Funky Monkey Oatmeal has peanut butter powder mixed into the oatmeal and is topped with coconut, chia seeds and fresh sliced bananas.  It’s packed with yummy nutrients with a tropical vibe!

You can top your oatmeal with such a variety of fresh or frozen fruit.  Add seeds and nuts, mix in healthy sweeteners like honey or maple syrup or indulge and add some chocolate chips or chunks.  Swirl in some thick yogurt and top with crunchy granola for a texture twist or go savoury like I like to with cheeses, fresh herb blends, sautéed veg or even meat!! (I’m seeing a maple, bacon, aged cheddar oatmeal bowl in my future!). The sky’s the limit really! And you can feel good starting your day with one of nature’s finest gems (and supporting our local farmers to boot)!

Nosh

“Good For You” Granola Bars With Just Enough “Bad”!

Ok I’ll be honest, I’m not sure the “good” outweighs the “bad” in these little delights.  Like most palatable granola bars, these contain sugar.  They also contain whole grains, honey, nuts and seeds tho so I’m making the executive decision that they’re just enough “bad” that you’ll want to eat more than one and just enough “good” that you can!  I like to experiment with recipes that are easy to grab and go especially this time of year to throw into harvest field meals and if you are among the many going back to work or your kids are going back to school after summer break you’ll want to check them out!

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The variations are endless but here’s the base:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 handfuls large marshmallows (approx 15-20)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups oats (I used quick oats)
  • 3 1/2 cups rice krispies
  • Your favourite add-ins/toppings such as: dried fruit, nuts, chia seeds, chocolate chips, nut butters, candy bits. (*I used 3 heaping tbsp chia seeds, 1/4 cup almond slivers, a handful of chocolate chips and reeses pieces bits in this batch.)
  • In a large pot melt butter with sugar and honey.  Bring to a boil and let bubble for 2-3 mins. stirring constantly.  Take off heat and add marshmallows. Stir until melted.  Add salt and vanilla (and nut butter, if you’re adding any, at this point – 1/2 cup or so.). Mix in your oats, Rice Krispies, seeds, nuts etc at this point as well, adding in increments and stirring to coat everything really well, you want to sort of monitor the ‘goo factor’ while you’re adding your desired nuts and seeds etc so that everything will still stick together. Press lightly into a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Top with your desired ingredients and gently press into the bars with another piece of parchment paper placed on top of the mixture.  You want to be quick at this point so you don’t melt and squish any of the toppings such as chocolate chips or candy.  Let set in a fridge or on the counter, slice  and wrap bars in waxed paper for easy access!

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Nosh

Huevos Rancheros Tostada Style

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I crave two types of food on the regular…Mexican and Italian!  Today’s menu consists of both…it’s Friday and a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!  For lunch today I made these extremely tasty Huevos Rancheros Tostadas (and for supper we’re having pepperoni and fresh basil pizza…my quick and easy pizza dough recipe can also be found on the blog, under “nosh”!)  These yummy delights have everything; crunch, creamy, salty, meaty, and spice! I make mine with home-made ‘refried’ beans that I make in my crock-pot and topped with a basted egg they are protein rich and oh so satisfying for everyone, even my hard-working farmer!

Here’s my recipe for ‘refried’ beans made in my crockpot:

  • 3 cups dried beans of choice
  • 4-6 cups water…I add water as needed throughout the day
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and de-veined and chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: leftover pork roast bone

I throw everything in my crockpot and cook on high for 6 hours or so.  This is a super simple way to cook beans and I often have a crockpot going to stock up on my freezer supply of cooked beans.  Once the beans are cooked and tender I like to strain out some of the liquid (reserve it), I use my hand blender to work the beans into a creamy thick paste, adding reserved liquid as needed.  *Once pulsed beans are cooled they thicken up quite a bit.

I portion the ‘refried’ beans into freezer containers and thaw as needed for an array of Mexican inspired dishes, including these Huevos Rancheros Tostadas:

  • Corn tortillas, sprayed with olive oil and baked in a 375* oven (flipping halfway through cooking), baked until crisp.
  • Refried beans
  • Sauteed onions and mushrooms
  • Diced bell peppers
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Basted or Sunny-side up eggs (1 per tostada)
  • Cilantro
  • Hot sauce or Salsa

To assemble, spread a generous layer of refried beans on prepared tortillas.  Top with sautéed mushrooms and onions, bell peppers, and grated cheese.  Bake in oven until cheese is melted.  Top with cooked egg, cilantro, salt & pepper and hot sauce.  Serve immediately!  I’m pretty sure they would be even better served with a “Salty Dog” (grapefruit, vodka and lime in a salt-rimmed glass.)…Next time I’ll test that theory out..(the things I must do for the blog!!). A yummy dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner that’s healthy and hearty!

 

Nosh

B3 Pops

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B3…I’m talking berries, balsamic and basil. These ice pops have a grown-up flair to them and take advantage of the fresh strawberries that are filling up the patches right now not to mention the bouquets of basil that are available to be picked these days.  Summer screams freshness and these pops are nothing if not FRESH!  Day 12 of the 12 days of Summer Kickoff is sure to pack a punch of irresistible flavour!

Here’s how you make them: In a sauce pan, combine 2 cups fresh (or frozen) strawberries, slightly diced with 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbso balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup water.  Simmer until the berries are softened and then blitz them up with a hand blender.  Thinly slice some fresh basil into ribbons and stir into the cooled strawberry mixture.  Fill molds, seal and freeze then enjoy the perfect taste of summer cubed!  These would be fantastic served in a crisp, chilled glass of proseco too!  A great way to finish off our 12 Days of Summer Kickoff with Ice Pops!

I really hope you’ll give a few of these recipes a try…ice pop molds are so cheap and by creating your own pops you can furthermore create some lasting summer memories with your own family as I’ve already enjoyed doing with mine! Happy summery, ice pop filled days ahead!

Nosh

Grape-tastic Pops

 

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Day 11 of the 12 days of Summer Kickoff is this royal beauty!  It is rich in color and flavour and healthy to boot!  It wouldn’t be fair to do a 12 day of Summer Ice pops and not somehow include the same purple staining dripping that my own childhood included.  The difference here is that YOU control the sugar (and in this case I even used honey so they’re naturally sweetened by our good friends, the bees!). They’re honestly so good…I hazard to say the best I’ve made so far!

They take some pre-planning as I made them with pure grape juice that I made last summer with grapes from my mom’s yard.  I simply boiled them down with a bit of water and then strained them and froze the rich liquid.  I used it in summery grape and mint mojitos and if I had been so inclined I could have used it for jelly too!

This recipe includes 1 1/2 cup of the homemade grape juice, 1/4 cup honey (or so…sweeten to your liking and remember it takes more sweeteners for things to taste sweet when frozen), and 1/3 cup plain (or flavoured if you desire) greek yogurt.  Whisk all these ingredients together and pour into molds to freeze. They’re truly such a beautiful color and indeed, they do stain your little one’s hands, and mouth and anything else the melting pops dribble on!

PS: they’re even healthy enough to eat for breakfast, in your pjs, on your deck!

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