Spiced Protein Porridge

Hooray! The weather is FINALLY cool enough for the first protein porridge of the season!

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

  • 3/4 cup rice flakes or oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp vanilla pea protein
  • 1/2 tsp chai spice (or cinnamon / cardamom)
  • Banana and almond butter for serving

Method

  1. Mix the rice flakes, milk, protein, flaxseed and spice together in a bowl.
  2. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes.
  3. Serve topped with banana and almond butter. Easy!

Breakfast berry oat protein bars

A mouthful to say and a mouthful to eat! Another delicious creation on my never ending quest to keep my scrub pockets full of snacks….

Ingredients (makes 8)

  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup vanilla pea protein (I use Botanika Blends)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 2 tablespoon liquid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

    Preheat the oven to 200*C. Line a slice tray with baking paper.
    Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
    Add the wet ingredients and stir well.
    Add the frozen berries and mix through.
    Spoon and flatten the mixture into the slice tin, bake until set (about 30-40 minutes) and allow to cool before slicing into 8 pieces. Store wrapped in baking paper in the freezer or in an air tight container in the fridge.

Nutty Carob Granola

Nutty, chocolately granola without the hidden sugar!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds
  • handful each of hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts and flaked coconut
  • 2 tbsp carob
  • 2 tbsp cacao
  • 3 tbsp olive oil Nuttalex, melted

If you prefer your granola sweeter, add 1-2 tbsp maple syrup.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together and spread onto the baking tray.
  3. Bake until crispy (~ 15-20 minutes), using a fork to turn the mixture every 5 minutes.

Pumpkin Spiced Porridge

It’s only cold here for about 3 months of the year, which means there are 12 weeks of prime-pumpkin-porridge-tasting time to be enjoyed!

Ingredients (serves 2) 

  • 200g butternut pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • pinch of pumpkin spice (I use 1 tsp cinnamon with 1 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves)
  • coconut or Greek yogurt and flaked almonds to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Skin and chop the pumpkin into small pieces and roast until soft and golden (approx 20-30 minutes).
  2. Place the pumpkin, spices and almond milk in a blender and process until smooth.
  3. Use the ‘pumpkin smoothie’ as a base to cook the quinoa flakes, on a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously (particularly the bottom so it doesn’t stick) until the flakes are soft and the mixture is thick and creamy. If you need to add more liquid, add more almond milk as you go.
  4. Top with yogurt and flaked almonds just before serving.

Tip: The most time-consuming part is roasting the pumpkin. So, roast a large pumpkin early in the week so that there’s plenty on hand to make porridge whenever you fancy!

Sassy Shakshouka

I bake these ahead of time and freeze them for the perfect quick, protein-loaded, ‘throw in the microwave and then eat in the car’ style breakfast while I’m rushing to work of a morning!

Baked eggs with mushroom, cherry tomato, spinach and seeds 

Makes 2 servings (of 2 eggs each). Preheat the oven to 200*C. Grease the ramekins with olive oil, then line with a small handful of spinach. Place 2 button mushrooms and 2 cherry tomatoes on top of each ramekin, followed by the eggs (1 each in a small ramekin or  2 in a large). Sprinkle with 1 tsp of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, then bake for 10 minutes until the egg white is cooked through.

Baked eggs with broccoli, peas, beetroot and macadamia dukkha 

Makes 2 servings (of 2 eggs each). Preheat the oven to 200*C. Grease the ramekins with olive oil, the roughly chop the broccoli florets and place at the bottom. Add 1/8 cup frozen peas in each ramekin, then 1 baby beetroot finely sliced. Top with the eggs and a sprinkle of dukkha, then bake for 10 minutes until the egg whites are cooked through.

Breakfast On The Go

This is a follow on from my ‘Sexy Salads’ and ‘Meal Prep for Professionals’ pieces, as I am out to prove that if a sleep-deprived and ridiculously busy doctor can make the time to organise her food, then there’s nothing holding you back too!

My colleagues at work have both teased and praised me for my breakfast choices at work. I tend to arrive hurriedly at 7 am, still in my gym clothes, madly eating a jar of breakfast while attempting to change into my scrubs and make my hair and makeup presentable. Yes I did say a jar of breakfast.

The breakfast parfait / layered breakfast jar is one of the ultimate nutritious breakfasts on the go, and surprisingly easy to make. Some of the most beautiful breakfast jars on social media have to be seen to be believed, but us mere mortals don’t often have the time for that. But if you’re keen to start the day on the wholesome foot, here are a few ideas to get you started!

Overnight Oats 

Essentially the cream-less version of Bircher Muesli. Place 1/4 cup of oats in the jar and mix with a yogurt of your choice (stick to the plain ones with less sugar, I like the plain fat reduced Chobani or Paul’s natural style yogurt) and add a scoop of your favourite protein powder if you’re that way inclined. You can also kick start the metabolism with a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric or ginger, or really mix things up with some matcha powder or grated carrot / zucchini (don’t knock it until you try it!). Then top with fruit (frozen berries work well here but also try banana, mango or stonefruit) and your favourite granola or nuts. These don’t have to be left in the fridge overnight but they thicken when they do. You can easily make a stash of them a few days in advance and enjoy a run of less-stressful morning rushes to work!


Chia Pudding

Similar to overnight oats in terms of the process, however it does require the added step of being mixed with a fork. Soak 1/4 cup of chia seeds in a milk of your choice (I find the nut and soy milks work better here for some reason) and mix well with a fork. Let it sit for five minutes and stir with a fork again and you’ll notice that the seeds develop a gelatinous coating and stick together as pudding. Allow to rest for another five minutes before topping with fruit, granola, nuts and / or yogurt, and let it sit overnight in the fridge for the ultimate thick consistency.

Want a decadent breakfast without the calories and guilt? Try 1/4 cup of chia seeds mixed with 1/2 cup of almond milk and 1 tablespoon cacao. Top with coconut yogurt, cacao nibs and a dollop of your favourite natural peanut butter – absolute bliss!

Baked Eggs

A less fancy but no less tasty variation on Eggs en concotte or Shakshuka. Pre-heat the oven to 180*C or so. For a single serve, take a large oven proof jar or ramekin and spray with olive oil. Line the base with spinach, kale or silverbeet, then add whatever tidbits take your fancy (like leftover roasted vegetables, fetta cheese, haloumi, sundried tomatoes, capsicum, mushrooms etc). Then crack two large free-range eggs over the top (don’t scramble!) and season with salt, pepper, dukkha / dried herbs / a sprinkle of cheese, then bake until the whites are firm. These can be made en-masse and kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days ahead, or can even be frozen. Just reheat when ready to eat, although many combinations actually taste good cold too!


Vegetable slice alternative: Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a small brownie tray with baking paper. In a bowl mix 6 eggs, 1/2 cup of plain flour of your choice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tsp baking powder and then throw in 1 cup of whatever finely chopped vegetables you like – chopped spinach, rocket, tomatoes, mushroom, roast potato / pumpkin, steamed broccoli, grated carrot, zucchini etc. Sprinkle with your choice of cheese and seasoning, then bake until just set (10-12 minutes). The result is 4 servings of a portable, delicious, fluffy, quiche-like slice!


Smoothie Jars 

As long as you use an airtight jar, these can be made the day before for the ultimate portable liquid breakfast (and you usually get two servings out of each). Try blending 1 cup of nut milk, 1 cup of spinach, 1/2 cup of frozen berries and a 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to increase your daily intake of leafy greens. Need refuelling after your morning workout? Try blending 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, a scoop of protein powder, 1/4 cup of oats and 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter. Skip the banana bread and instead use 1 cup of almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 banana, 1/4 cup of oats, and 1/2 tsp each of cinnamom, cardamom and ginger. It’s pretty hard to stuff these up nutritionally, just use fruit instead of sweeteners and limit the amount that goes in. Also stick to blending rather than juicing as this tends to extract the flavour and sugar from the fruit / vegetables without retaining the amazing fibre that helps to keep you full (and your bowels regular!).


 

Breakfast Bowls – an update

As someone who works long and busy hours, sometimes without a meal break, I am an advocate for having a healthy start to the day regardless of what shift I’m working. If that means eating oats and yogurt before work at 9 pm then so be it!

I am a huge fan of the breakfast bowl (and breakfast in a jar for that matter), because why have just boring old processed breakfast cereal when you can have something much more filling, with more texture, more protein and more flavour, without all the hidden nasties?

I like to keep my yogurt plain because I enjoy the tartness of it, and I tend to use Chobani 0.5% fat plain natural yogurt because of the protein content. However, if you’re looking for something sweeter, just add a drizzle of honey or sweetener of your choice to the yogurt in each of these recipes, or use a brand that you enjoy. If you’re dairy intolerant or vegan I highly recommend the Luz Almond range which taste much nicer than the soy alternatives I’ve tried!

To thicken the yogurt to make a pudding-like consistency, I add pea protein powder (which also helps to keep me full for longer).

A few of my recent favourites;


Yellow Overnight Not-Oats 


Mix 1/4 Lupin flakes, 2/3 cup plain natural yogurt, 1/8 cup shredded coconut and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and leave soak overnight. Top with whatever you like, but I chose flaked almonds, nutritional yeast (from The Source Bulk Foods) and freeze dried mango pieces.


The Pink and Green Scene 


2/3 cup of plain natural yogurt swirled with 2 tsp Matcha Maiden matcha and 2 tsp Just Blends freeze dried dragon fruit powder, topped with flaked almonds, buckwheat and the Coles ‘Power and Go’ seed mix (which includes linseeds, chia etc).


Choc Beetroot 


2/3 cup plain natural yogurt mixed with 2 tsp raw cacao and 2 tsp Healthy Life beetroot powder, topped with almonds, walnuts, cranberries, buckwheat and strawberries.


Matcha Apple Ginger


2/3 cup plain natural yogurt mixed with 2 tsp Matcha Maiden Matcha, topped with green apple, flaked almonds, Bask & Co granola and pieces of Ginger Party ginger.


Choc Greens 


2/3 cup plain natural yogurt mixed with 1 scoop Isowhey vanilla pea protein, a pinch of stevia,  1 tsp greens powder and 1 tsp matcha, topped with tigernuts , cacao oats+chia mix from The Chia Co, cacao nibs and a squeeze of Sweet Freedom Choc Shot (a fruit based clean cacao sauce).


Peanut Butter Jelly Time 


Blend 4 large strawberries with 1/3 cup coconut water, then mix with 1/4 cup white chia seeds and leave set overnight to make a strawberry ‘jam’.

Mix 2/3 cup plain natural yogurt with 1 scoop vanilla pea protein, 1 tbsp powdered peanut butter and 1 tsp maca powder, then swirl with the strawberry mix and top with smooth peanut butter.


 

HEALTHY STRAWBERRY SUNDAE FREAKSHAKE! 


For those who grew up in Queensland, you will no doubt be familiar with the Ekka Strawberry Sundae. A glorious tower of strawberries, Lick vanilla icecream, Lick strawberry icecream, whipped cream and strawberries, nestled in a crunchy cone and served at the Royal Qld Show (colloquially known as “The Ekka”) to raise money for the life changing research of the Prince Charles Hospital foundation.


My healthy strawberry sundae freakshake is a protein-packed tribute to this beautiful beast, one of my favourite Ekka childhood memories! 

Ingredients (makes 1) 

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla pea protein 
  • 4 strawberries 
  • 1 tablespoon maca powder 
  • Stevia to taste 
  • 1 x healthy muffin or donut (make your own or I used the vanilla muffin mix by 12Health)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Chobaniau yogurt 
  • 1/2 tablespoon freeze dried strawberry powder (or you can just use strawberry yogurt) 
  • Sprinkle of puffed quinoa
  • 1/2 tablespoon goji berries  
  • Strawberry to perch on top 

Method 

  1. Blend the almond milk, pea protein, maca and berries until smooth. 
  2. Pour into a jar and balance the donut on top. 
  3. Swirl the yogurt with the strawberry powder, leaving some pink and some white. Dollop on top of the donut and decorate with quinoa, goji and a fresh strawberry.