Burnt Butter Savoury Breakfast Oats

I’m more of a savoury fan when it comes to breaky, but I am also a massive fan of comforting bowl food. So recently I started experimenting with overnight oats of a savoury kind. There’s lots of good recipes out there but nothing that really floated m’boat. So here’s what I came up with this weekend that I ended up having for brunch while sitting in bed and watching an ep of Suits:

Burnt Butter Savoury Breakfast Oats

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk plus another 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (either frozen or drained from a can is fine)
  • Big nob of butter
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup cheese grated
  • 1 spring onion chopped

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Place oats and milk in a microwave proof dish and microwave for 90 seconds. Set aside for a moment.

Place pepitas in a bowl, add oil and paprika. Add a pinch of salt. Stir to make sure they are evenly coated. Spread out on an oven dish and bang them in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Put the corn in a saucepan with the butter on a medium heat. Add a pinch of salt. Heat stirring, so the butter melts. Let the corn cook until the butter goes brown and there is charring on the corn itself.

Add the other 1/4 cup of milk to the oats and put in the microwave for 40 seconds. Add all ingredients to a bowl, take it back to bed with a coffee and don’t even think about getting up for a while.

Sticky soy tempeh and Asian style salad

So after my mediocre eating week last week, this week I have been getting back in the saddle. Priority #1 – find some interesting things to do with tempeh because, you know, it really doesn’t taste that great. I mean, it doesn’t taste bad, it’s just kind of….meh.

So why eat it? Well, I wrote recently about improving my gut health so I can improve my mental health. You can read about it here. So eating fermented foods is kind of like taking medicine. But medicine doesn’t need to taste blergh.

For me it’s not a taste thing per se, it’s a texture thing. Tempeh is solid but doughy, beany but pasty. To be honest, I wouldn’t necessarily choose to eat it, but it’s cheap (one package does 3-4 servings) and I am super keen on this gut health thing so I can max my chances of having good, and consistent, mental health.

First experiment was to stir fry it.

Sticky Soy Tempeh

  • 1 x 300g packet tempeh, diced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Chopped fresh chilli to taste
  • Wombok (Chinese cabbage)
  • Crunchy noodles
  • Spring onions
  • Coriander
  • A squeeze of fresh lime to serve (optional)

Mix the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and chilli and set aside a moment.

Stir fry the tempeh until browned and then throw in the sauce ingredients and then stir until sticky and shiny.

Slice the wombok thinly and toss with chopped coriander, spring onions and crunchy noodles – note, you could also serve this with crunchy stir fried veg if you prefer.

You can adjust the sauce to your personal tastes if you like it hotter or sweeter. Me, I prefer the tang of citrus so I squeeze some lime juice over the top to serve.

As you can see in the picture, I washed it down with a crisp dry rose that someone had given me for my birthday. That isn’t part of the recipe but it was still yummy.

What to do when you have a bad week

Sometimes you just have a bad week. As much as I want to eat freekeh and quinoa and kefir and fruit and veg, sometimes I just have a bloody bad week. I always wonder if I will be the kind of lifestyle hippie that doesn’t have bad weeks, because my health and diet regime isn’t a regime – it’s just my life. But I’m not a lifestyle guru. And I’m not a twenty-something hipster with the metabolism of an Olympiad. I’m a 46 year old late adopter trying to be healthy and happy. And sometimes that means I just have a bad week.

“Bad week” means when things are just a bit rubbish on a lot of fronts. I’m tired, it’s cold and dark at this time of year, I get bills I wasn’t expecting, I’m reading too much into things people say and do, I over think things I’ve said and done or not said and done. And before you know it I want a thousand hash browns and five bottles of wine.

Well last week was just that kind of week. I managed pretty well considering. I stayed away from chocolate and wine (mostly) and kept to some simple eating habits. But all I felt was deprived and miserable.

Then My Mate Laura messaged on Saturday morning to say that she and My Other Mate Alice we’re going for a grown up coffee date and did I want to come. Frankly I wanted to stay in bed and binge watch Suits, but I asked her to tell me when she was leaving so I could put a bra on and get myself over there.

Best. Decision. Ever.

We drank coffee and ate carbs. We laughed a lot and cried a little bit. And then we had more coffee. There were lots of things I was supposed to be doing, there were other places I was supposed to be, I had a list of chores as long as my arm. There were things I wasn’t supposed to eat and drink and things I was. But you know? Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to let that go. Sometimes letting go is more important than all the woulds and shoulds and supposed-tos.

Life is to be enjoyed. We should delight in the world and each other. And when we’re having a bad day or a bad week, we can just go with it. It’s not about trying to make the bad feelings go away. It’s about letting the bad feelings happen, acknowledging them and then riding them out. And to do that, we need to get ourselves out of bed, put our bras on and go and meet our friends for a grown up coffee date.

Tomorrow will be better. Next week will be better. I can eat vegetable lasagna and stir fried tempeh next week. This week I need coffee and hugs. And that is in no way a bad thing.

The hunt for easy breakfasts continues

I’m a late adopter. Generally by the time I have jumped on board it’s about 5 years after something first appeared. When I was in uni, we hand wrote essays and used the library. When we had a special seminar on “the internet” (which did not look like it does now) we all fell about laughing. Why would we need this “internet”? We have a library sitting right next door! We shook our heads. It’ll never catch on.

Same with this “overnight oats” phenomena. It seemed like hippy stuff to me. But then in the hunt for an easy breakfast to avoid bingeing at lunchtime, I was forced to try them out.

Yum yum!

I’m a savoury person by taste, but a couple of times a week when I have to commute a million miles to get into the office, this is perfect. I grab and go and then have at the office. I can even eat it on the train if I can’t wait. So here’s a really easy basic recipe that then you can add stuff to for variety.

Overnight oats basic recipe

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup – I use almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

This makes one portion. Add all the ingredients to a jar, mix ’em up and stick it in the fridge.

I add 2 scoops of chocolate flavoured protein powder to the ingredients above (you could also add some organic cocoa or cacao). Then in the morning I add half a banana and some pecans.

For variety, you can add any fruit and any nuts. This also makes a great base for Bircher muesli (add some nuts to the mixture and grated apple).

I have a glut of cherries in the freezer so I plan on making some cherry compote that I can add to this in the morning with some toasted almonds.

You can also make it slightly different by using coconut milk instead of milk and then go crazy with your toppings – toasted shredded coconut and kiwi perhaps? Or mango and pineapple?

Its easy. It’s unprocessed. It’s healthy.

What could be better?

Apple cinnamon muffins: for a healthy breakfast, lunch or snack

Getting my kids to eat breakfast is a constant battle. They don’t sit still, they don’t like anything and they don’t feel hungry are the usual arguments. Added to that is the fact that they usually wake up at 6am and I want them to be able to get themselves breakfast that isn’t dragging a chair to the cupboard and trying to reach biscuits on their tippy-toes.

They go nuts for my homemade lunchbox muffins so thought I’d start trialling muffins that are good for breakfast but aren’t chockers full of sugar and things. AND when I’m on the run trying to get them dressed and find their shoes (again), I need something I can grab to take on the way to work.

The first recipe I tried is from Love & Lemons for Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins. You can access the recipe at this link, or I’ve added it below with some notes.

Love & Lemons Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar (although I only had caster sugar so used that instead)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup spelt or whole-wheat flour (I used whole-wheat)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large apple (cored, peeled and small diced)

Pre-heat the oven to 400f (that’s just over 200c) and line or spoil spray a 12 cup muffin pan.

Whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Add the oil, sugar, eggs, apples sauce and vanilla extract to the almond milk bowl and whisk until well combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir til just combined.

Add 2/3 of the chopped apples (although my youngest didn’t like the “chunky bits” so I’ll leave that out next time. You could also add sultanas or chopped walnuts as well)

Mix 1 tablespoon of additional sugar and 1/2 tsp of extra cinnamon. Add the muffin mixture to your muffin pan and then sprinkle a little of the cinnamon sugar over each one. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

I had one refusal and one acceptance as long as the chunky bits were taken out so that’s a win in my house. One of these with a glass of milk has filled his tummy nicely. They can be frozen and then 35 seconds in the microwave to defrost/warm through. They have also been brilliant to grab and go for me when I’m heading to the train.

I’ve got a few more breaky muffins that I’m going to trial so I’ll keep you posted!