There exist, (as we know from the sheer multitude of instagram pages, #breakfastbowls, dedicated wholly to said hashtag), a plethora of alternatives to toast, and partaking in these options is both healthy and provides a great variety to ones first meal of the day. They do say that variety is the spice of life, and what would life be without a veritable helping of spice.
(the original overnight oats):
History: Bircher Muesli was introduced around 1900 by the Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital where a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables was an essential part of therapy.
During the first year the clinic was open, he came down with jaundice, and claimed he became well again by eating raw apples. From this observation, he experimented with the health effects raw foods have on the body, and from this he promoted muesli, a dish based on raw oats, fruits, and nuts.
My version is based on this Muesli, but I tweak it all the time, and prefer to use almond milk. So I can’t write an exact recipe, because really it’s personal preference as to how much fruit, nuts and cinnamon you put in. Also, oats and oat brands are all different in how much liquid they soak up. It’s done by eye, but you can’t really go wrong.
1) Soak your oats overnight in desired liquid. I prefer almond milk, but have used apple juice, rice milk, and coconut water in the past. You can choose your liquid. Put enough liquid over your oats to completely cover them, plus a little extra.
If you forget to soak your oats or want to make a last minute bircher, then leave finely milled oats for about 45 minutes.
2) Choose your fillers, prepare and mix in. My favourites are chopped apricots and chopped toasted almonds. Any nuts or dried fruits will work just fine. Figs are good – fresh or dry.
3) Grate a couple of apples and stir in.
4) To finish, add extra almond milk to achieve desired consistency. I also pretty much always stir in a tablespoon of cinnamon just because I like it. Up to you.
Serve with extra chopped nuts and fruit on top.
Toast your nuts to achieve desired level of toastiness. Not too much as they will taste bitter and acrid. Add to blender and blitz. If nuts not yielding enough oil to blitz down, as will sometimes happen with peanuts, then add a splash of oil to loosen. Either leave plain and unsalted or add a pinch or two of salt to taste.
1) toast cashews
2) blitz cashews
3) add freeze dried raspberries (or whatever other fruit you like)
4) add a little vanilla essence
NB goes very nicely with the bircher, and provides that extra protein kick.
1) Mix oats and chopped nuts in a bowl.
2) In a saucepan, heat a jars worth of coconut oil, half a regular sized bottle of maple syrup and a good squeeze of honey until melted together.
3) Pour over your oats and nuts and mix together well.
4) Transfer mixture to a lined baking tray and bake at 180C for between 25 – 45 mins, or however long your oven takes to achieve your desired level of toastiness.
I vary these, but more often than not will soak chia seeds in almond milk slightly sweetened with maple syrup. I adjust quantity of almond milk at the end to achieve desired consistency. Then I layer this mixture with thick smoothie, or other fruit and nut blends. I made a raspberry cashew butter the other day, and this would be ridiculously good in a chia pot, a full protein fix.
Make a quick fruit compote by taking some fresh or frozen berries and cooking with sugar in a pan for 5 mins or so. Remove from heat. Add chia seeds and stir periodically until the chia seeds have soaked and turned the compote into a ‘jam’. You could make a raw ‘jam’, by simply blitzing the berries cold, and adding the chia seeds, same as above. Takes half an hour minimum for the seeds to fully soak.
Healthy, energy breakfast muffins:
Mix together in a bowl the following ingredients:
1 pot yoghurt (I have been using soya to please the vegan)
1 - 2 pots sugar (depending on how sweet you like your muffin)
3 pots SR flour OR plain flour and 1tbsp baking powder
1 pot neutral oil e.g sunflower oil
1 mashed banana
1 tbsp soaked chia seeds OR soaked linseeds OR 2 tbsp water OR 3 eggs
Flavourings of your choice. My faves are apple, cinnamon and raisin, blackberry apple and cinnamon, strawberry and vanilla and of course, blueberry. Topped with oats for added sustenance. I've dabbled with veggie muffins which are great too. Courgette muffins with toasted pumpkin seeds, and sweet potato with almond.