Creamy Cardamom Oatmeal

Do oats make a regular appearance on your family table? If not, I encourage you to welcome this nutritious grain into your family meal plan.  

Science Corner
Oats are a nutritious whole grain, brimming with minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc as well as B vitamins, all of which are super important for growing bodies and minds. Oats have fibre to promote digestive regularity, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol PLUS feed the good bugs in our digestive tracts. They are incredibly energising and satisfying, preventing you and your kids from reaching for that unhealthy mid-morning snack. The benefits are endless but most importantly, oats are darned delicious. Here, I show you how to perk up your usual oatmeal with cardamom and cinnamon for added excitement, health and flavour. Cardamom has anti-cancer, digestion boosting, anti-bacterial and anti-nausea effects and cinnamon, in addition to having a host of other benefits, is a potent stabiliser of blood sugar. 

Yield
1 adult and 1 toddler serving

Ingredients
1/2 cup whole grain rolled oats
1 1/2 cups milk of choice (we love almond milk)
1-2 cardamom pods lightly smashed to expose the aromatic seeds
Large pinch salt
2 teaspoons almond or your favourite nut butter
Maple syrup for drizzling
Handful berries of choice
Pinch cinnamon, preferably the Ceylon variety

Method
Bring the oats, milk, cardamom and salt to a gentle boil. 

Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook the oats until creamy, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Remove the cardamom pods, ladle into bowls, top with a teaspoon of almond butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, berries and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Stir well and enjoy. 

Spiced Carrot Muffins

Spiced Carrot Muffins
Toddler, Kid, Adult

Baking with vegetables is a genius idea for three wonderful reasons - added nutrition, natural sweetness and moisture. Carrots, in particular, are the perfect addition to cakes, muffins and breads. I created these whole grain, omega-3 fatty acid-rich, refined sugar-free, spiced carrot muffins to make my mornings less stressful, more nutritious and delicious.

Science Corner
Carrots are brimming with vitamin A, which is ultra important for good vision and critical for developing kids. Carrots contain fibre which helps with regularity and feeds the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract. They also contain phytonutrients that prevent cancer and free radical damage to our DNA during normal metabolism. Whole wheat instead of regular processed flour is nutrient and fibre rich, helping with satiety and blood sugar control. Flax seeds are an amazing vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for brain development and the prevention of unnecessary inflammation making these nutrient-rich yummy muffins a treat you can feel really great about giving your kids and families. 

Yield
12 muffins

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup grated carrots
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (preferably Ceylon)
5 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup maple syrup (or honey) plus extra for drizzling
1/4 cup raisins

Method
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C.

Line a muffin tray with paper liners and set aside. 

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, flax meal, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add in the vanilla, melted and cooled butter, milk and maple syrup and mix well. 

Add the carrots and raisins to the dry ingredients. Then add in the wet ingredients and mix until a batter forms without over-mixing. Allow the mixture to rest for a minute or two. 

Using an ice-cream scooper, transfer the muffin mixture into the paper liners two thirds of the way to the top. Create a small dent and add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon maple syrup in the centre of each muffin. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin emerges dry. Transfer onto a cooling rack. Once cooled, enjoy dipped in milk or with a hot cup of spiced chat for the perfect breakfast or mid-afternoon energy boosting, nutritious snack. 

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Cinnamon Maple Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are simply what the moniker implies - oats soaked in a liquid of choice overnight until they are softened into a pudding-like consistency, presenting themselves as the perfect canvas for additions and toppings like fruits, nuts, sweeteners and spices! The most fun aspect of this dish is getting your kid to make breakfast with you the night before. Talk about serious skin in the game. 

Science Corner
Oats contain a special kind of fibre called beta-glucan which has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, boost immune function, stabilise blood sugar and even prevent breast cancer. Cinnamon has myriad health benefits including anti-diabetes, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective, cognition-boosting, cancer-prevention and female hormone-balancing effects. Raisins are every kid's favourite and chockfull of fibre, potassium, iron, B vitamins and anti-oxidants. With calcium, vitamin D and magnesium from milk, this breakfast is a yummy nutrient powerhouse your kids and you can enjoy for an energetic and delicious start to your day. 

Yield
2 adult and 1 toddler serving

Ingredients
3/4 cup rolled oats (not steel cut or instant oats)
1 1/2 cups plain milk (or almond, soy or other milk of choice)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (preferably Ceylon)
1 tablespoon raisins
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
Few slivered almonds or walnuts (optional)

Method
Mix all the ingredients except the raspberries together and partition into 3 glass jars. Cover and store overnight in the fridge. Top with fresh raspberries or any fruit of choice and slivered nuts right before eating for a delicious and nutritious yet speedy breakfast. 

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Spiced Granola

Spiced Granola
Toddler, Kid, Adult

I must admit I've usually bought granola, thinking it's too complicated to make on my own, but boy was I wrong! Homemade granola is so easy to whip up and so much more nutritious and delicious when you play around with add ins yourself. Not to mention the irresistible aroma that floods your kitchen when its baking. It also makes for a thoughtful gift for a friend and is ideal for travel. I am sure this will become a breakfast and snack staple in your household just as it has in ours.  

Science Corner
In addition to the nutrition benefits of oats mentioned here, the nuts in this recipe are rich in protein, fibre, good quality fats, minerals like calcium and magnesium and vitamins E and B. Cranberries and raisins provide anti-oxidants and vitamins, coconut oil can prevent unwanted inflammation and the gentle sweetness of maple syrup is energising without setting off that dreaded sugar rush. 

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not steel cut or instant oats)
1/4 cup almonds coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cashews coarsely chopped
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (preferably Ceylon)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins

Method
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 F.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the cranberries and raisins. Mix well. 

Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet into a thin layer. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and transfer into a fresh bowl. Add the dried cranberries and raisins and allow the mixture to cool. Store in an airtight container for 2 months. Enjoy over yoghurt, layered in a fruit and yoghurt parfait, with your milk of choice or on its own as a crunchy, toast, sweet, slightly salty and spiced nutritious and delicious breakfast or snack. 

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Vroom Vroom Energy Balls

Vroom Vroom Energy Balls
Toddler, Kid, Adult

Yield
12-14 balls
Each bite contains 33 mg of Mg or 41% and 25% of the daily required intake of Mg for 1-3 and 4-8 year olds, respectively. 

Ingredients
1/2 cup almond butter
3/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon (preferably Ceylon)

Method
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend well until the oats are broken down into granules and the ingredients are well combined into a crumbly dough. Shape the mixture into 3/4 inch diameter balls between the palms of your hands. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to set. These will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks in an airtight container but they will most definitely not last that long, if my tot's obsession with them is any indication :). You can also freeze them for longer enjoyment. 

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Cardamom Chocolate Energy Balls

CARDAMOM CHOCOLATE ENERGY BALLS
Toddler, Kid, Adult

This past rainy weekend brought with it an intense chocolate craving and my stash was out. In a moment of desperation, I whipped up these 'laddoos' or energy balls with the only chocolate I had on hand - raw cacao . I wasn't expecting fireworks but boy oh boy were these AMAZING. Packed with protein, iron, calcium, fiber, anti-oxidants and a host of other nutrients, these cardamom chocolate energy balls have become toddler's favorite snack and the best part - he hasn't asked for 'real' chocolate since! 

Science Corner
As discussed in a previous post, cardamom has a range of scientifically proven health benefits including anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, digestion-promoting, detoxifying and anti-nausea effects. In one study, the effect of a blend of essential oils from ginger, peppermint, spearmint and cardamom was assessed on post-operative nausea in 300 patients. Both nausea levels and the need for anti-nausea medications were reduced in a statistically significant manner in the aromatherapy treated group versus controls! Raw cacao is minimally processed cacao to preserve all the magic of the cacao bean, including anti-oxidants and polyphenols. Tahini is a wonderful non-dairy source of calcium and protein and oats have heart-healthy fiber. All of these beautiful ingredients join forces to make these ultra delicious superfood delights you can feel amazing about feeding your family. 

Yield
About 15 balls

Ingredients
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 cloves cardamom, seeds removed and ground
1/4 cup oats
4 dates pitted
1 tablespoon cacao powder (preferably raw for a nutritional punch)
2 tablespoons honey

Method
Blend all the ingredients in a good processor until smooth. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 1 inch diameter balls. Allow them to set in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. They should last for 5-7 days in the fridge if you can wait that long to finish them! They are perfect as an energizing mid-morning snack, in the lunchbox or whenever a chocolate craving strikes. 




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Cinnamon Banana Oat Pancakes

CINNAMON BANANA OAT PANCAKES
Toddler, Kid, Adult

Science Corner
As discussed in a previous post, cinnamon has a plethora of science-backed health benefits like anti-diabetes, cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-Parkinson's and female hormone balancing activities - all in once spice, that's pretty darned remarkable. Oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan which has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, boost immune function, stabilize blood sugar and even prevent breast cancer. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium which is critical for heart function. Creamy and naturally sweet, they contain fiber to promote digestion and are a 'PREbiotic' - food that feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract. All of these nutritional powerhouses join forces with anti-oxidant and vitamin-rich berries and omega-3 and calcium-rich chia seeds in this delicious and decadent breakfast that is the perfect, sustainably energizing and nutritious way to start your tot's (and your) day. 

Yield
8 pancakes

Ingredients

For the pancakes
2 bananas
2 eggs
1 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional, for an added health boost)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (preferable Ceylon as discussed previously here)
Butter or coconut oil for cooking

For the berry compote
1 cup frozen or fresh mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
 

Method
In a small saucepan, cook the berries, ginger and water over medium low flame for 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and mashable with a fork. While the compote is cooking, blend all the pancake ingredients except the butter / oil in a food processor into a smooth batter. Set aside. 

Turn the heat off the compote, stir in the honey and taste for sweetness, adding more honey if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and allow it to cool. 

In a skillet or non-stick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or butter over medium heat. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour in the pancake batter and cook until it sets, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for about a minute. Wipe the pan clean with a dish towel between pancakes to prevent burning. 

Serve the pancakes with a generous dollop of cooled berry compote. The compote is also wonderful with plain yoghurt or spread on buttered bread. 




Cinnamon Nutmeg Vanilla French Toast

CINNAMON NUTMEG VANILLA FRENCH TOAST
Toddler, Kid, Adult


Science Corner
As discussed in a previous post on the science-backed health benefits of cinnamon, this miracle spice can temper the effect of sugar on the body. Studies on type II diabetics have shown that even less than 1/2 a teaspoon a day of cinnamon for 4 months reduces blood sugar levels. There is evidence that cinnamon improves the function of insulin, the hormone that coaxes our cells to soak up blood sugar and use it for energy. Rice pudding flavored with cinnamon spikes blood sugar less than bland rice pudding. It's no wonder then that we encourage the use of cinnamon in any carb-heavy, sugary treat and this delicious French Toast is no exception! 

Yield
2 adult and 1 toddler portions
 
Ingredients
1 loaf of challah or soft white bread (unsliced)
3 Eggs
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon  cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Maple Syrup
Fresh fruit (banana or berries)
 
Method
Crack eggs into a shallow square bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the milk and stir with a fork until mixed. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir again until well mixed and set aside.

Cut off the ends of the challah bread. Cut the middle section into ¾ inch thick slices.
 
Heat griddle (or frying pan) on medium heat. Once water sizzles and evaporates the pan is ready. Brush the pan with butter. 
 
One piece of bread at a time, dip into egg mixture until both sides are well coated, and place onto hot, buttered griddle. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh blueberries or a few slices of banana and a drizzle of maple syrup. Some powdered sugar is also a nice touch. 


Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip Pancakes

As you know, I am obsessed with healthy pancakes - spelt, oat, buckwheat - so I was rather taken aback one Sunday when hubby asked for "regular pancakes" and toddler chimed in "with chocolate chips!". To prove that I too can be fun sometimes, I whipped up these fluffy, buttermilk pancakes but, of course, added the miracle spice cinnamon to keep the blood sugar spike in check. 

Yield
5-6 4inch diameter pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon (or 1/2 teaspoon of the more commonly available Cassia cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly ground over a microplane
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Butter for the skillet

Method
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry ingredients slowly, whisking into a smooth batter without over-mixing. Fold in the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to rest for a minute or two to relax the gluten and prevent the pancakes from turning rubbery. 

In a small skillet or non-stick pan, heat a knob of butter over medium until melted. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the pancake batter into the pan. Once the pancake has set (1-2 minutes), flip it and cook for another minute or so until golden brown but not burnt. 

Serve with fresh fruit or more chocolate chips and maple syrup for a truly decadent and delicious treat. 





Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins 
Toddler, Kid, Adult

Science Corner
Oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan which has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, boost immune function, stabilize blood sugar and even prevent breast cancer. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium which is critical for heart function. Creamy and naturally sweet, they contain fiber which aids digestion and is a 'PREbiotic' - food that feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Mangoes are brimming with carotenids like alpha and beta-carotene, which are precursors to Vitamin A production in the body and potent anti-cancer agents due to their antioxidant free radical scavenging activities. Vitamin A is especially important for eye development in children - being fat soluble, it is well absorbed in these greek yoghurt muffins. Mangoes also offer a boatload of Vitamin C and some B vitamins, particularly folate - if you're pregnant and looking for sources of folic acid, you can devour these with your kids. With blood sugar-stabilizing and anti-inflammatory cinnamon, a touch of honey, low glycemic coconut palm sugar and a few indulgent milk and white chocolate chips, these muffins are just the right amount of decadent while still being so good for you. A truly delicious and nutritious way to start your day!

Yield
12 muffins

Ingredients
2 cups whole grain rolled oats
3/4 cup full fat Greek yoghurt
1 banana
1 cup chopped mango (~ 1 medium mango)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Method
Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C. Grease a muffin tray or line cavities with paper liners. 

Blend all the ingredients except the chocolate chips in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips saving a few for sprinkling on top of the muffins before baking. Scoop batter into muffin cups until each cavity is about 2/3 full and sprinkle a couple of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin emerges dry. Allow the muffins to cool. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes for a perfect, healthy lunchbox item too! 

 






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Spiced Coconut Chia Pudding

Spiced Coconut Chia Seed Pudding
12 months+, Toddlers, Kids, Adults

Nutrition
Chia means 'strength' and chia seeds are the new superfood for good reason. They are high in calcium - 2 tablespoons have 180 mg of calcium, the same as 4oz of milk! They also have plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, quality protein, fiber and anti-oxidants. They are a great addition to smoothies, salads, breakfast bars, puddings. Here, they marry beautifully with coconut milk which is great for you in moderation and fiber, protein and calcium-rich rolled oats for a decadent high calcium pudding that takes seconds to prepare and will put any other power breakfast to shame.

Yield
1-2 toddler servings (240 mg of calcium total)

Ingredients
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch cinnamon, about 1/8 teaspoon
2 cardamom pods smashed

Method
Mix all ingredients together and give them a good loving stir. Refrigerate overnight and voila, breakfast is ready. You can stir in fruit of choice (berries or mangoes work nicely here) and add some more coconut milk if your kids like a more liquid pudding.

 


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Bananatini (Banana Tahini Honey Cinnamon Slices)

Bananatini (Banana Tahini Honey Cinnamon Slices)
Toddler, Kid, Adult

Nutrition
This is a power breakfast like no other and so delicious to boot! Calcium-loaded tahini with good fats, protein and B vitamins slathered on sweet banana packed with potassium and complex carbohydrates drizzled with anti-bacterial, anti-viral sweet honey and a sprinkling of blood sugar-stabilizing cinnamon. Enough said. 

Yield
1 - 2 toddler breakfast portions

Ingredients
1 banana sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon tahini 
1 teaspoon honey or date syrup
Pinch, 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method
Slice a banana lengthwise. Spread the tahini, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve peppered with berries on the side. Combine with a boiled egg and / or a glass of milk for a calcium, vitamin D and protein-rich power breakfast. 




Spiced Semolina Porridge

SPICED SEMOLINA PORRIDGE
12 months+, Toddler, Kid, Adult

In the way that is typical of toddlers, my 2 year old has, out of the blue, boycotted his staple morning oatmeal. I am a big believer in a nourishing, warm bowl of porridge for breakfast, especially in the cooler months of the year, so I started rummaging around my pantry frantically for an alternate solution. Enter semolina! Made from ground durum wheat and yellowish in color, it's richer in iron and protein than wheat - having used it in the Lebanese Sfouf we shared recently, I had some lying around so decided to give it a go. It's been three days and it's all toddler wants. And naturally, he calls it 'Goldilock's Porridge' <smile, wink, heart slightly melting>

Yield
2 toddler servings

Ingredients
1/3 cup fine semolina
1 cup full fat milk plus 1/2 cup water 
OR
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 cardamom cloves lightly smashed to expose seeds 
Pinch or 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons maple syrup 

Method
Add the semolina, milk, water and spices to a pot and bring to a gentle boil stirring constantly about 3 minutes. Once starting to bubble, reduce heat to low and stir for another 30 - 60 seconds until the porridge is as thick as you like. Transfer to a bowl, add the maple syrup and serve. If it gets too thick by the time it cools, add a splash of milk. Using this as a base, you can stir in raisins, chia seeds, slivered almonds - the list is endless. Happy breakfasting! 


Spiced Banana Oat Chia Muffins

I woke up from a nap yesterday with an intense muffin craving. It's been a week of clean eating so I didn't want to sabotage myself and toddler with added sugar nastiness. I decided to create 'healthy' muffins with oats, bananas, spices, and NO WHITE SUGAR. These are definitely gently versus cloyingly  sweet but they absolutely hit the spot. I made them again for breakfast today and given toddler and papa's reaction, I'll be adding them to the 'healthy family favorite' list. 

Nutrition
Oats contain a special kind of fiber called beta-glucan which has been shown to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, boost immune function, stabilize blood sugar and even prevent breast cancer. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium which is critical for heart function. They are creamy and naturally sweet but also have a good amount of fiber which aids digestion. Specifically, bananas are a 'prebiotic' - food that feeds the good bacteria or probiotics in your digestive tract, making them great for digestive health. With omega-3 rich chia seeds, blood sugar stabilizing cinnamon and anti-bacterial cardamom, a touch of honey and no white sugar. these muffins are a perfect power snack or a delicious and nutritious way to start your day. 

Yield
12 muffins

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups whole grain rolled oats
4 medium ripe bananas
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground with a mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 scant cup honey
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
2 eggs

Method
Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190C.

In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients except the eggs. Add the eggs and pulse until well incorporated. Using an ice-cream scooper, transfer the mixture into muffin liners or a greased muffin tray. Bake for 18 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool and enjoy as is or with a drizzle of maple or brown rice syrup for some added deliciousness. Alternatively, for a more decadent treat, fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips into the batter before baking. 

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Cumin Fried Egg

There is something heavenly about the combination of cumin and eggs, especially sunny side up eggs with the yolk still a little runny. Middle Eastern and North African cultures discovered this pairing ages ago and we are here to follow in their genius footsteps. Be warned: you may never eat non-cumin seasoned fried eggs again! 

Nutrition
Cumin is a fantastic digestive aid and antioxidant. It’s also a good source of iron! Eggs contain choline which is important for brain and memory development. At only 75 calories a pop, an egg has 6 grams of high quality, complete protein as well as iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids that are vital for eye development and vision. The egg is therefore a tiny nutritional powerhouse. But what about all that cholesterol? While it's true that eggs do contain a solid helping of cholesterol, experts agree that it's not cholesterol in food but saturated and trans fats that causes blood cholesterol to be elevated as explained here. So go ahead and enjoy those nutrient-dense eggs. They are especially handy for picky eaters and for a quick, last minute, i'm-too-lazy-to-cook lunch or dinner protein option. 

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 egg
Pinch or 1/8 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt to taste

Method
Heat the oil in a pan until hot but not smoking. Crack the egg into the oil, retaining the integrity of the yolk. Cook on medium heat until the sides just begin to brown. If you don't fancy a runny yolk, flip the egg over to seal the yolk. Sprinkle with salt and cumin and cook for another minute. Serve with sliced buttered toast for a yolk dipping taste of heaven or stick in between two slices of buttered bread for a yummy egg sandwich. 
 


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Spiced Omega-3 Pancakes

Recipe adapted from http://www.foodprepper.com/spelt-pancakes-from-youtube-video.php

Nutrition

Spelt aka 'The Grandfather of Wheat', is an ancient grain and wheat's healthier distant cousin. Spelt has more nutrients per calorie than wheat and because it still has gluten, albeit a more easily digestible form, it can be swapped into any recipe calling for wheat without really compromising texture. Spelt is rich in niacin or vitamin B3 which is important for energy metabolism among other functions. It is a good source of minerals like copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus as well as the trace mineral manganese which helps regulate blood sugar, thyroid function and bones. Spelt has loads of soluble fiber and is easier to digest than wheat. The complex carbohydrates in spelt are of the good kind -- known as mucopolysaccharides, they can boost immune function! Chia seeds are a true superfood filled with fiber, protein and omega-3 fats which are anti-inflammatory and have a plethora of beneficial effects including aiding neuronal and eye development as well as lowering triglycerides in the blood and boosting heart health. Kids don't mind them for they are teeny tiny and undetected in most recipes. Blueberries of course are nature's tastiest anti-oxidant. These pancakes are real nutritious powerhouses you can feel good about devouring. 

Yield

Makes about 5 5inch diameter pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup spelt and 1/3 cup all purpose white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
2-3 cardamom cloves with skin discarded and seeds freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 cup whole/skim or almond milk depending on the richness desired
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Coconut oil for frying
 

Method

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until they just come together. Add the blueberries and mix. Do not over-mix which can cause the gluten to toughen and the pancakes to get rubbery.

Heat a non-stick pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Scoop the batter onto the pan with a 1/4 measuring cup. Cook the pancakes for about 1 minute 15 seconds on each side or until you get a nice golden brown color. Serve with maple or brown rice syrup. 

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Turmeric Scrambled Eggs

TURMERIC SCRAMBLED EGGS
12 months+, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Nutrition
Eggs contain choline which is important for brain and memory development. At only 75 calories, an egg has 6 grams of high quality, complete protein as well as iron, vitamins, minerals and carontenoids that are vital for eye development and vision. The egg is therefore a tiny nutritional powerhouse. But what about all that cholesterol? While it's true that eggs do contain a solid helping of cholesterol, experts agree that it's not cholesterol in food but saturated and trans fats that causes blood cholesterol to be elevated as explained here. So go ahead and enjoy those nutrient-dense eggs. They are especially handy for picky eaters and for a quick, last minute, i'm-too-lazy-to-cook lunch or dinner. 

Yield
1 adult and 1 toddler serving

Ingredients
5 eggs
1 3/4 tablespoon cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons butter
1-2 pinches turmeric
Chives (optional)

Method
Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and add the butter. While the butter melts, crack the eggs into a bowl, add the cream, salt and pepper and beat well ensuring the yolks are well integrated into the mixture. Add the turmeric to the melted butter and stir the pan for a minute allowing the turmeric to open up. Reduce the heat to very low and add the eggs, stirring as often as possible, at least every 30 seconds. The mixture will eventually become custard-like and creamy. Once the eggs are cooked to your liking (about 15 minutes on very low flame), transfer them to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the chopped chives. These will be the creamiest, most delicious scrambled eggs ever, well worth the elbow grease and patience! Serve with toast and fruit for a five star, healthy breakfast at home. My toddler cannot get enough.

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Frittata with Potato, Prosciutto & Sneaky Swiss Chard

Frittata with potato, proscuitto and sneaky swiss chard
12 months+, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Nutrition

The US Department of Agriculture suggests 3 cups of dark leafy green vegetables per week. Most adults, let alone children, do not meet those requirements. So why the obsession with leafy greens? Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods around. They contain minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium, vitamins B, C, E and K and phytonutrients and antioxidants that augment cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation, digestion and detoxification. I like to think of them as harboring the energy of the sun. They convert sunlight into chlorophyll so when we eat a plate of leafy greens, we are literally taking in the sun's energy. Because some greens like spinach and Swiss chard have oxalic acid that can prevent the optimal absorption of calcium, I rotate between chard, kale, spinach, collards and the gorgeous Asian greens in the cabbage family like bok choy and choi sum. You can add them to stews, soups, pesto, and as here, eggs. They are of course lovely on their own with a little oil, garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice which increases the absorption of iron from them. With the choline in eggs for memory and brain development, good quality protein from the eggs and proscuitto and starch from the potatoes, this dish is a true complete meal. 

Yield

Serves 2 adults and 2 kids as a main 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
3 medium new potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 large leaves Swiss chard with thick stems discarded finely chopped
6 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Method

Preheat the broiler on high heat.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and basil in a bowl and set aside. 

In a 10 inch diameter ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over a medium flame until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Add the potato, salt and pepper and sauté over medium-low heat until the potato is tender and golden, about 15 minutes. Add the paprika and let it blossom, about 10 seconds, and then immediately add the Swiss chard and soften, about 4 minutes. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Cover and cook over medium low heat until the egg is almost set but the top is still runny, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet uncovered to the broiler and allow the top to set until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Allow it to cool, cut into wedges or bite sized cubes for the kids and serve. 

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Cardamom Spelt Pancakes with Mango

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CARDAMOM SPELT PANCAKES WITH MANGO
12 months+, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Recipe adapted from http://www.foodprepper.com/spelt-pancakes-from-youtube-video.php

Nutrition

Spelt aka 'The Grandfather of Wheat', is an ancient grain and wheat's distant cousin. The healthier distant cousin that is! Spelt has more nutrients per calorie than wheat and because it still has gluten, albeit a more easily digestible form, it can be swapped into any recipe calling for wheat without really compromising texture. Spelt is rich in niacin or vitamin B3 which is important for energy metabolism among other functions. It is a good source of minerals like copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus as well as the trace mineral manganese which helps regulate blood sugar, thyroid function and bones. Spelt has loads of soluble fiber and is easier to digest than wheat. The complex carbohydrates in spelt are of the good kind -- known as mucopolysaccharides, they can boost immune function! Spelt has a nuttier flavor than wheat so I actually like it more taste wise. For some it may be a more acquired taste although most kids I've offered these pancakes to don't seem to notice the difference. The bit of white flour makes for a fluffier and lighter texture than 100% spelt so I cheat a little without missing out on the nutrients. 

Yield

Makes about 5 5inch diameter pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup spelt and 1/3 cup all purpose white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
2-3 cardamom cloves with skin discarded and seeds freshly ground
1 cup whole or skim milk depending on the richness desired
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs

Method

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until they just come together. Do not over-mix which can cause the gluten to toughen and the pancakes to get rubbery.

Heat a non-stick pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add a dollop of butter or a teaspoon of canola oil. Scoop the batter onto the pan with a 1/4 measuring cup. Cook the pancakes for about 1 minute 15 seconds on each side or until you get a nice golden brown color.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with chopped mango or maple syrup. You can use other fruits like berries, chopped banana or apricots. I find the mango provides enough moisture so as to be able to get away with less syrup if that's something you'd like to moderate with your kids. That said, Sundays are for splurging so go ahead and do mango AND some maple for absolute comfort food goodness.

Download the recipe here.

 

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Cardamom Quinoa Porridge with Apricot & Banana

CARDAMOM QUINOA PORRIDGE WITH APRICOT AND BANANA
6 months +, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Nutrition

Quinoa is a true superfood containing essential vitamins like Riboflavin (B2) which helps energy production in the brain and muscle cells, important minerals like iron, magnesium and manganese, twice the fiber of most grains and protein. Rare for plant-based protein, quinoa contains ‘complete’ protein encompassing all 9 essential amino acids making it a truly perfect, balanced grain for kids. I use it as a substitute for white rice in several recipes. Combined with dried apricots which are a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C and iron and bananas which have a load of fiber, vitamins and minerals especially potassium, quinoa here makes a delicious, nutty and nutritious breakfast porridge.

Yield

Makes 4 baby, 2 toddler/kid or 1 adult serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa rinsed well
1 1/4 cups water
3 cloves cardamom smashed or seeds from 1 clove removed and ground
3 dried apricots finely chopped
1/2 banana chopped
plash water, formula, breast-milk or cow’s / soy / almond milk

Method

Mix the quinoa, water, cardamom and apricots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes with lid on until the water is absorbed. Leave to rest for 2 minutes then fluff up with a fork. The quinoa should be fluffy and almost translucent once cooked.

Serving Suggestions

For young babies, add some water, formula or breast milk and the chopped banana and puree to your desired consistency. For the rest of the family, add the banana, a splash of milk and serve for a delicious power breakfast.

Instead of dried apricots, you can use fresh apricots or mangoes which also pair well with cardamom and make for a sweeter blend. Add the fresh fruit after the quinoa is done cooking.

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