Autumn Breakfast – apple and berry compote with spiced seed mix

spiced seeds

 

Taking care of ourselves during Autumn sets us up for good health through the winter.

Now is the time to keep warm, nourish yourself and protect your vitality in preparation for the months ahead. Adjusting our diet and lifestyle for Vata season is key to avoiding its seasonal disturbances such as anxiety, dry skin/lips, digestive issues and poor circulation to the hands and feet. We can address some of these outcomes by consuming foods that are warming, grounding, and nourishing – try mainly warm, cooked meals that incorporate more spices and oils .

Having a warm breakfast that follows these basic guidelines sets us up well for the day – rice porridge, stewed seasonal fruits, or pancakes are all great choices. Avoid raw, drying foods such as raw muesli, puffed grain cereals, dry crackers, and caffeine.

This Spiced Seed Mix is a beautiful addition to your Autumn pantry. It has a sweet, spicy flavour and offers a good dose of the oils we need at this drying time of year. Make a batch and keep it in a jar so it can be generously added to your breakfast repertoire –  sprinkle on any compote, use as a crumble topping or  generously garnish your porridge. It also makes a satisfying, low GI snack.

Spiced Seed Mix

  • pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • shredded coconut
  • coconut oil
  • ground cardamom
  • ground cloves
  • powdered ginger

Heat a non-stick pan and toss in pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut. Stir until lightly browned.

Add small amount of coconut oil to pan to lightly coat the seed mix and then add cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground cloves and powdered ginger. When the spices begin to release their aroma, remove from the heat and turn the mix out onto a flat plate to cool immediately.

To make compote

Peel and dice seasonal organic fruits such as apples or pears (and sweet berries if they are still available).

Toss into a large pot with enough water to generously cover the bottom of the pot.

Cover and turn on to a medium heat. Once water starts to bubble turn to a low heat and continue to cook until the fruit is soft and translucent.

Serve warm over porridge or pancakes, with or without a small dollop of  organic coconut yogurt and a generous handful of the Spiced Seed Mix.

 

When Bliss Balls Aren’t Bliss-full For Your Children

Bliss Balls 1

Looking for something quick, healthy and simple to make for an after-school snack that will get everyone through to dinner time without blood sugar levels (and moods) dipping and rising? Bliss Balls are the perfect solution. Or are they?

There are many variations on the Bliss Ball today but I consider their real appeal to be how quick and easy they are to make whilst packing a clean, nutritional punch. It takes longer to clean the food processor than it does to whip up a batch.

They are a great post-workout snack, after-dinner treat, late afternoon pick-me-up and they fill the gap nicely as an after school snack as long as they are child friendly. Nut and seed allergies aside of course (as they often form the base of a Bliss Ball), I am wary of many commercial variations on the shelves of organic stores when it comes to serving them to my children. Many of these Balls or Orbs, as they are also known, are proudly packed with ‘superfoods’ to add nutritional value which, quite frankly, should be carefully measured when served to children.

So before you dish out these versatile and ‘nutritious’ little treats to the hungry hoards in the back seat there are a few things you may want to consider. ‘Superfoods’ have medicinal properties and some are potent herbs that need to be administered with care and caution. As many of these foods and powders are readily available we may be mislead into thinking they are healthy at best, or perhaps benign or harmless at the very least.  Whilst gogi berries and chia seeds may be a safe addition to any ingredient list there are some herbs that we need to be cautious of when serving them to children. Maca root powder for instance, is traditionally used for increasing hormonal activity, infertility, low libido, enhanced energy levels, and increasing testosterone levels. Raw cacao powder is a powerful stimulant that can affect the nervous system and it is high in oxalic acid which can inhibit absorption of calcium. Camu Camu is rich in vitamin C which can disturb the digestive system. Mix some or all of these together in a friendly looking Bliss Ball and we are now serving quite the cocktail for afternoon tea.

The safe (and easy) alternative is to whip up a batch at home. This way we are able to take full control of what you are feeding our children.

Here is my Bliss Ball recipe (as pictured above). You can also use whatever ingredients you have handy i.e. exchange the sultanas for other dried fruits and the nuts for whatever is available.

Bliss-Filled Bliss Balls

  • small handful gogi berries (great antioxidant)
  • small handful sultanas (contains boron for bone health)
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste (loaded with calcium)
  • 1 tbsp honey (anti-bacterial, anti-viral)
  • 2-3 tbsp buckwheat kernels (no gluten here)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (packed with omega-3)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (helps to stabilise blood sugar levels)
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut (rich in fatty acids)
  • 1/4 cup ground hazelnuts or almonds (both are packed with essential minerals and vitamin E)

Throw all of these ingredients into the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped, making sure to leave some texture. If mixture seems too dry try adding some coconut oil or more tahini. If the mixture is too loose add more desiccated coconut to help it firm up.

Take a heaped tablespoon of mixture and roll into balls. Leave to set in the fridge for an hour or more before serving. Then… unleash them.