Health benefits of spices, no curry required

A common misconception is that enjoying the health benefits of spices means eating curry. 

The truth is that, as much as I love a good curry, these traditional recipes are not the only vehicles for spice. 

Simple dishes that we all enjoy on a regular basis can be ideal canvases for spices. Some out-of-the-box thinking and willingness to break the rules can allow these healing ingredients into your kids' and families' lives, seamlessly and deliciously. 

These spiced scrambled eggs are a case in point. 

RECIPE

Spiced Scrambled Eggs
Toddler, Kid, Adult

Eggs are nutritious, versatile and perfect for picky kids. 

I spiced up a traditional egg scramble with anti-inflammatory turmeric, digestion-boosting cumin, anti-bacterial coriander as well as metabolism-enhancing black pepper (which also increases the absorption of turmeric). I added tomatoes and spinach for increased nutrition and shallots for bite and flavour. A sprinkling of parsley finished off the dish beautifully. We love it over toast for breakfast or in a whole wheat tortilla for lunch. A bit of cayenne or hot sauce elevates it for the adults.

Yield
4 servings 

Ingredients
6 eggs
2 tablespoons cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley 

Method
Beat the eggs, cream and spices in a bowl until well mixed. 

In a sauté pan, heat the oil on medium until shimmering. 

Add the shallots and sauté until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down a bit. 

Reduce the heat to low. Add the eggs and mix continuously, scrambling them into a custard-like, creamy texture, 3-5 minutes. Once the eggs are cooked, add salt and pepper to taste. Finish with parsley and serve. 

 

 


 

 

 

3 Make-Ahead Breakfasts To Make Your Mornings Easier

Toddler has finally started sleeping in - YAY - but like they say, be careful what you wish for! An extremely early riser for the first couple of years of his life, when pre-school started, my 3.5 year old decided that even 8 am was too early to start the day. Most mornings then, we are struggling to wake up, eat breakfast and make it out the door on time. Sound familiar? 

Enter three make-ahead breakfast recipes that have transformed our mornings from stressful and hurried to relaxed, nutritious and delicious. 

RECIPES

Overnight Oats
Toddler, Kid, Adult

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. 

toddler taking pride in his overnight oat making skills :)

toddler taking pride in his overnight oat making skills :)


Spiced Carrot Muffins
Toddler, Kid, Adult


 

DSC_0277.jpg

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. 


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 make and so much more nutritious and delicious when you play around with your add ins yourself. Not to mention the irresistible aroma that floods your kitchen when its baking. It also makes for the most thoughtful gift for a friend and is ideal for travel. I am sure this will become a breakfast and snack staple in your household too. 

Science Corner
In addition to the nutrition benefits of oats mentioned above, 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 yoghurt and fruit 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. 

DSC_0282.jpg