Fruity Breakfast Pilaf (made with steel-cut oats)

Fruity Breakfast Pilaf with pecans (optional)

Fruity Breakfast Pilaf with pecans (optional)

fruity breakfast pilaf

fruity breakfast pilaf

I love this recipe, not only because it’s delicious, but because of it’s make-ahead ability, ensuring you have a healthy, low-glycemic breakfast that really sticks to your ribs.  Steel-cut oats are used, making this recipe a lower glycemic option to flaked oats or instant oats. Remember, the more processed oats are (or grains in general),  the quicker they convert to sugar in your body. So, it takes some extra time to cook these oats (30 minutes), but when you make a batch large enough for 4 or 5 days, it’s not really that much of a time investment. Just reheat in the microwave and Bob’s yer uncle, as they say.  Feel free to change up the fruit and nut component to your liking. You can find steel-cut oats in every grocery store in the cereal aisle.  ***You can use any grain in this recipe (rice, millet, quinoa – just adjust the water amount and cooking time according to package directions).***

Fruity Breakfast Pilaf

adapted from VB6 by Mark Bittman

serves 6 

Ingredients:

1.5 tbsp cooking oil (I used coconut oil)

I 1/3 cups steel-cut oats

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger

2 tbsp real maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 cups berries, fresh or frozen (divided – 1 cup added at end of cooking)

4 cups water

Directions:

Put the oil in a large non-stick pan or medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  When it’s hot, add the steel cut oats. Cook and stir for approximately 4 minutes until kernels are starting to colour and are well covered in oil. Add salt and spices, stirring until fragrant.  Add 4 cups of water, maple syrup and 1 cup of fruit. (I used blueberries). Stir, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally for about 25-30 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed and oat kernels are tender.

Uncover, and stir in remaining cup of fruit (I used raspberries) and serve with milk product of choice (very nice tasting with nut milk or coconut milk beverage) and additional nuts, if desired.  You can eat these without any milk product if you prefer.

If making ahead, let cool (covered) then place in a container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  Reheat individual portions in microwave.

steel cut oats

steel cut oats

Saute oats in oil, add spices

Saute oats in oil, add spices

add water, syrup, nuts and fruit

add water, syrup, nuts and fruit

simmer, covered (stirring occasionally) for 25-30 mins

simmer, covered (stirring occasionally) for 25-30 mins

serve with milk product of choice and nuts (optional)

serve with milk product of choice and nuts (optional)

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Walnut-Date Chews (gluten free)

Walnut Date Chews

Walnut Date Chews

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These are the best cookies if you want to avoid too many carbs, refined sugar, gluten, egg and dairy! Even if you aren’t avoiding these things, they are the best cookies. You know how after dinner you just want a little sweet? This fits the bill with absolutely no guilt and all pleasure.  It’s based on ‘bliss ball’ recipe but I’ve refined and adapted it to be even more blissful. I sometimes even crumble one on my yogurt in the morning.  They are a snap to make,  so get going.

Walnut-Date Chews

makes 16-20 cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups walnuts

1/3 cup dates, diced (make sure they are soft – reconstitute them with boiling water if they are hard )

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

Place walnuts in bowl of food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times until roughly chopped.  Sprinkle dates over top and pulse 5 or 6 more times.  Add vanilla, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt.  Continue to pulse until walnuts and dates are finely minced and a nutty ‘dough’ has formed.  You may have to take the top of and move the mixture around, pressing it down, then pulse a few times, then repeat until it’s evenly processed.

Using a 1 tbsp scoop,  scoop balls of nut mixture onto cookie sheet.  Shape into flat-topped circles.  If using, place 2 chocolate chips on each cookie. (just for fun and a little hit of chocolate–so good).  Cookies only need to be about an inch apart, you can fit them all on one sheet.

Place in preheated oven for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Enjoy! Store in airtight container for 1 week, or freeze for up to a month.

process until fairly fine

process until fairly fine

these are the best dates

these are the best dates

1 tbsp of dough

1 tbsp of dough

bake at 350 for 9 mins

bake at 350 for 9 mins

 

YUM

YUM

 

 

 

 

Christmas Goodies

Ginny

Ginny

It’s that time of year again – it’s coming fast too! Here are  some links to some sweet and savory Christmas goodies– people always appreciate a home-baked gift.  These are some of my well-tested and favourite baking recipes. Happy Holiday to all of you and all the Best for 2014!

Healthy Nutty Balls

Savory Double Cheese Pecan Shortbreads

Cranberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Traditional Shortbread

Ginger Cookies

Almond-Oatmeal Thumbprint Jam Cookies

Peanut Butter Buds

Big, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Glazed Mini Pumpkin Scones

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Fruity Butter Tarts

Fast Cinnamon Buns

Continue reading

Asian Maple-Ginger Pork

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This recipe is an old standby that I’ve been making forever.  With  my kids all over the planet and cooking on their own, I thought I better put this one out into the world with them.  It’s great – easy, fast and delish – the tender pork just makes it so good.  It’s comfort food in our house. I prefer to use  ‘tamari’ over ‘soya sauce’.  It’s milder and available in gluten free – so try that if you aren’t a regular user of it – you’ll probably never use soya sauce again.  Cheers. Continue reading

Cranberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Cranberry-Lemon Ricotta Cake

I couldn’t resist a basket of freshly harvested organic cranberries at the farmer”s market this morning.  Since I was making this ricotta cake today, I simply topped it with some of these tart little jewels. Check it out – this recipe is adapted from a traditional Italian recipe and I’ve modiified it so that it contains less sugar, spelt flour (which is a non-gmo ancient wheat grain), and  added a bit of vanilla.  So, the cake maintains it’s moist lemony goodness, but is Canadianized with cranberry and pear.   This will be really good for Thanksgiving dinner or  If you want an everyday cake to have on the counter for the weekend, or a birthday cake for a loved one or an excellent dessert for a dinner party – it’s really versatile because it’s just damn good.  The gluten-free version can be found here: GF Ricotta Cake,  You can also find a pictorial tutorial at that link if you have questions or need direction. Continue reading

Sausage and Sweet Potato Lasagna (Gluten Free)

Sausage and Sweet Potato Lasagna

Sausage and Sweet Potato Lasagna

It might not seem like it’s the time of year for lasagna, but since this recipe uses thinly sliced sweet potato in place of pasta noodles, it’s quite light and delicious tasting.  I developed this recipe after coming up with the bright idea to use Seed to Sausage caramelized onion and pepper sausages in place of meatballs or ground beef. What a great idea.  Seed to Sausage is a local artisanal sausage and cured meat producer in the Sharbot Lake area and a real “going concern”. I feel pretty lucky to have great access to  their products —  you can probably find their products near you…click on this link to find out.

Anyhoo…like any fine piece of work, it does take time and involves a little technique – and the results are totally worth it. So. If you’re in the mood, gather your ingredients, prep your layers and whip this up.  Even the lasagna haters in my house  were begging for more. I said, “no!” –more for me the next day.  The added ‘gluten free’ bonus makes this a perfect dinner party main course if you have a gluten free guest – trust me, everyone will be happy.  A crisp salad with a homemade vinaigrette and a simple, fresh dessert completes the picture. ‘Tis the season for fresh and seasonal ingredients! Yay! Continue reading

Healthy Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies

Healthy Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies

Healthy Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies

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I like to have a stash of these in the freezer.  They’re great for breakfast on the run, or as a snack you can throw in your purse on those days when you’re running around and lunch doesn’t look like an option.  Either way, they are a (gluten free) energy boost that is tasty with minimal sugar.  Using organic ingredients and local, farm-raised eggs ups the anti on nutrition here as well. Continue reading