Low-sugar acai bowl

My Instagram feed has been LOADED lately with smoothies. Smoothie bowls, açai bowls, ‘nice’ cream, basically blended up cold things, with toppings for crunch.

Don’t forget the toppings!

Out of all the breakfast foods (OK perhaps not the avo toast as that is the ULTIMATE in photogenicity) the smoothie bowl photos rather well. Thick and creamy in a vibrant green or purple – or brown if you use spinach – a good nut butter drizzle and the generous overflow streaming down the sides. It’s cool, similar to ice cream so surely is the perfect candidate for summer breakfasts when porridge most definitely isn’t the answer.

Why is it then that every time I make a smoothie, it just doesn’t float my boat. I’m not sure whether it’s that a liquid meal just doesn’t satiate my appetite? Or perhaps that I’m conscious of not adding too much fruit so instead it ends up tasting of pond, never mind resembling one? I just can’t figure it out. SOS (save ones’ smoothies).

Photo 26-06-2017, 08 26 24.jpg

Now I’m sure we’ve all heard of the açai bowl. A street snack from Brazil which is a deep purple berry frozen and blended and then topped with toppings galore. Bananas, granola, berries, coconut, seeds, you name it, you can top it. Here in the UK the açai berry isn’t as abundant so we have to rely on frozen bananas for the texture and then freeze dried açai powder or little frozen sachets of the açai pulp for the taste and colour. If you’re then centering your toppings around granola, banana and berries it’s not a very balanced breakfast. Meaning spiked blood sugar levels and a grumble in your belly by 11am. Breakfast preferably wants to contain a good balance of slow and fast release carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats so we need to rethink our smoothie bowl making rituals.

Photo 26-06-2017, 08 26 32.jpg

Something else that has been trending lately. Fruit-free and low-sugar smoothies. Yuppp that’s right, ones that supposedly don’t taste like salad, are filling and all add up to that much needed 5-a-day (or is it now 7, or 10? I’m not sure it keeps changing). Frozen banana is the fruit of choice when it comes to smoothies, but have you ever considered steamed and frozen cauliflower? Or courgette? Or butternut squash? Thought not. Me neither. The furthest I ever roamed into vegetable territory was spinach or kale , the odd bit of avocado – that’s technically a fruit so doesn’t count!

Steamed to make it gentler on your tummy and frozen to keep the smoothie chilled, vegetables are a wondrous addition. Paired with ground flaxseeds, a spoon of plantbased protein powder, some berries, maybe a cheeky half a date as I’m just not that hard-core, milk and any funky powders you like, you’d be none the wiser that it contains some cruciferous vegetables. A spoon of oats or soaked buckwheat blended into the mix would be ideal if you need it super filling, or a generous sprinkle (*ahem* handful) of granola or muesli…leftover cookies in my case.

Maybe this smoothie bowl is the one that will change things forever? It was good. I’m not going to lie. But I am still ever faithful to my porridge/toast/muesli/overnight-oats rotation. The girl knows what she likes. -\_(‘~’)_/-

Photo 26-06-2017, 08 27 25.jpg

Maybe I haven’t landed upon the perfect granola yet? Not too sweet, plenty of crunch. The sort that you just can’t get off of your mind. Saying that, this one was mega, it hasn’t escaped my mind. Maybe I’ve found the one?!?

If you’re after some more smoothie bowl inspiration and recipes, all low sugar veggie-centric and drool worthy may I add, head to these blogs and Instagram accounts. These girls are killing it in the smoothie game.

Low-sugar açai bowl

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup steamed and frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup steamed and frozen courgette (zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup berries (I used a mixture of strawberries and blackberries, any fresh or frozen would work)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
  • 1 heaped tbsp açai powder
  • 1 tbsp protein powder (I used hemp)
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseeds/linseeds
  • 1/2-1 date depending on sweetness preference

Topping ideas

  • Granola (try to use a low sugar one)
  • Muesli
  • These crumbled up cookies
  • Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, banana, kiwi
  • Bee pollen
  • Cacao nibs
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Nut or seed butter (I used a roasted almond, cashew and hazelnut)
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut flakes
  • Puffed rice, buckwheat, quinoa or amaranth

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients for the smoothie into a high powdered blender, starting with 1/4 cup of milk.
  2. Blend until everything is blitzed smooth and you have a thick smoothie with the consistency of ice cream, adding more milk if necessary. A high powered blender will work best here, I use a nutribullet. One less powerful will struggle to blend the frozen fruit and vegetables and it will be lumpy.
  3. Spoon into a bowl (watch your tongue on that blade I know you’re licking it clean!)
  4. Choose your toppings, add as many or as few as you wish.
  5. Dive in whilst it’s still cold, and don’t forget that picture for Instagram!

Enjoyed al fresco basking in the morning sunshine listening to the birds whistle their tunes. That’s the ideal breakfast situation. Not achievable most of the time I know, but on the one day that it appears, make the most of it. Embrace it with both hands, the smoothie bowl included, and DIG IN!

X

Coconut Overnight Muesli

I get it. We don’t always have time to prepare meals ahead, eat Instagram worthy breakfasts every morning, occasionally a proper meal doesn’t even get a look in. In reality breakfast is porridge splodged into a bowl dripping down the sides, and lunch on the go comprises of an apple and a bag of almonds. For those desperate times convenience food is called upon, whether it’s Pret, M&S, Itsu, ‘insert name of food place here’, they’re easy, offer lots of choice for all diets and appetite, however it sure can all add up.

The past few weeks I’ve been here there and everywhere. Last minute jobs and changes of plans resulted in throwing clothes in a bag (not forgetting the toothbrush) and making a dash for it. Packed lunches went out the window, dinner and mealtimes completely thrown all over the show, mouthfuls taken in between hair plaiting and foundation applying. At times like these food is fuel, not eaten mindfully and enjoyed as it should.

Photo 25-05-2017, 08 28 20

When I know I’m going to have a crazy busy day, no scheduled mealtimes and the lunch option only centres around curled up sandwiches and party sized bags of Haribo, I ensure to have a really good breakfast. One that’s enjoyed slowly, peacefully as a moment to myself. I cherish those moments. Something with a good mix of slow release carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein and a bit of sweetness. Overnight oats pretty much ticks all of those boxes. Plus, the added extra that it can be made in a jar ready to pick up on your way out via the fridge, and eaten on the train, in your car whilst stuck in traffic or al desko. WIN WIN.

Photo 25-05-2017, 08 29 17

I’m having a bit of a moment lately with muesli. The textures and sog that you get when it’s been soaking in milk for a brief sitting and every mouthful is just that little bit more different than the last. Yet again in the summer months I do enjoy a little fling with overnight oats. Porridge’s cooler friend, the one that was just thrown effortlessly together, walks with a breeze and without a care in the world with a touch of prepped smugness. I’ll have some of that please.

Grab your favourite muesli, I lean towards Rude Health’s Super Seed muesli, favouring more grains and seeds rather than dried fruit to control the sweetness levels. Prepared in the same way as we would overnight oats, stirred up with ground linseeds, yogurt, milk, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. We all have time for that surely? Prepare a large batch for the week ahead and divide into individual jars ready for the morning dash.

Photo 25-05-2017, 08 28 58

To make it super thick and creamy, yogurt is a necessity. It adds a tang along with soaking the grains so they are more easily digested. An organic full fat yogurt with probiotic cultures, such as Yeo Valley, is an accessible choice found in most supermarkets here in the UK. I love yogurt, and eat dairy so that isn’t an issue for me, however I do enjoy mixing things up a little. On the odd occasion going for a coconut yogurt such as Coyo or Coconut Collaborative, some goats yogurt or almond or cashew yogurt. We’ve had a sudden influx here of alternative dairy products, Nush and Abbot Kinney are both coconut, almond and cashew yogurt brands which have recently appeared on the shelves. I even spotted a rice milk yogurt the other day. Don’t get me started on oat yogurt, a variety I have been desperate to try for AGES, Oatly my favourite oat milk brand from Sweden are yet to bring the yogurt to the UK. I am waiting, fidgeting, not patiently at all, but waiting all the same. Yes, alternative yogurts are more expensive, but it’s enjoyable to try new products and discover what you like, even if it is only very occasionally as a payday treat.

This particular day I had an opened tub of natural Coyo (if you have ever tried the salted caramel flavour, it is so good it’s just plain wrong!). Coyo is a lusciously thick coconut yogurt, more like coconut cream, so you don’t need much to be satisfied. That’s why I manage to stretch out one pot to a few servings. This overnight muesli could be made with any yogurt as a substitute, whichever you have open or is your favourite.

Photo 25-05-2017, 08 29 37

I like to top this with fresh fruit, berries particularly are wonderful, or some mashed banana or grated apple stirred through just before serving to add a nice sweetness. A spoon of nut butter and some more seeds on top (you can never have too many) for crunch and bee pollen, because why not. If making your breakfast look pretty nourishes your soul, then go on and have a field day.

Photo 25-05-2017, 08 30 43

Coconut overnight muesli

This makes just the one serving but you can double, triple or multiply the quantities as many times as you need to make a jar for breakfast every weekday. Eat on the train or whenever you get a chance to breathe and enjoy, and DON’T FORGET THE SPOON!!

Ingredients

  • 45g muesli
  • 1 tsp ground linseeds (ground flax or chia seeds work too)
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 (large) tbsp coconut yogurt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of milk (nut, oat, rice, cows, they all are good)
  • Berries to serve
  • Bee pollen
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almond butter

Method

  1. Mix the muesli, salt, cinnamon and ground linseeds in a bowl.
  2. Add the yogurt and stir until evenly combined.
  3. Starting with a 1/4 cup of milk mix well, if it is still quite thick add a splash more until the thickness of pancake batter, remembering it thickens up overnight. Place in the fridge until the next day or whenever it is served.
  4. At breakfast, give it a good stir add more milk if you like it thinner and top with berries, a sprinkle of sunflower seeds and bee pollen, of course the almond butter too.
  5. If preparing for a few days ahead divide evenly into jars and add the toppings that you like where they will keep for 5-7 days, ready to be taken as and when needed.

I’m ready now for some much needed chill time. No more meals out of tupperware. Sitting at a table eating with a knife and fork (not plastic ones), perhaps a small glass of wine surrounded by my family. That’s what food should be about. And I cannot wait.

Hugs and kisses

X

 

Cacao matcha smoothie bowl

It’s recipe time again! I’m declaring my love of breakfast by giving you a summer themed one to eat outside in those blazing sunny days that we’ve been having, HA, if only? If you’re like me and from the UK I’m sure that you’re pretty done with this supposed ‘summer’. Can Autumn come along already? Ok summer can be the best part of the year and we always look forward to it. Bbqs in the garden, picnics in the park, long daytime hours, ice creams and wearing dresses without tights. But in my case that means wearing a jumper and a big jacket on top to compensate, keepin’ those kidneys warm, I am the master layerer! 

However, let’s not get too down about things, the weather isn’t everything. Make the most of British berries whilst they’re at their best, drown them in cream and eat with a glass of Pimms. Possibly you’re sat on your sofa wrapped in a blanket watching the new series of The Great British Bake Off instead of in the garden, but no one needs to know, it’s our secret!

S
So, summer weather breakfasts. For those mornings when you wake up and the thought of porridge just doesn’t get you going. You feel the need for something fresh and cool, but filling and sustaining. Welcome this matcha cacao smoothie bowl to your morning scene. Super thick and creamy, think along the lines of pimped up ice cream. There’s only a little banana for sweetness and a special other ingredient, so don’t be expecting a sugar crash 1 hour later, full of healthy fats from the peanut butter and avocado, and hello 1 serving of green veg before 9 am, GET YOU!!

stripped bare smoothie bowl, don’t forget the toppings!!

To be truthful, smoothies aren’t my favourite thing in the world. I like to chew my food, also chewing prepares your stomach for whatever is oncoming meaning better digestion. So I seriously advise making the smoothie super thick so you have to eat it with a spoon and then add toppings. Am I really having to tell you to add toppings, don’t be silly you were going to do that anyway weren’t you.

Please go mad with toppings, that’s what makes it fun. Ok don’t channel the froyo shops and crumble every biscuit in the tin on top and then half a bar of chocolate. I was thinking more along the lines of granola, fruit such as sliced banana or berries, coconut, seeds, cacao nibs, bee pollen, goji berries, chia seeds, whatever you fancy really. The kitchen cupboards are your oyster. Without further ado, I’d better give you the recipe before it starts snowing and we’re all back on the porridge bandwagon. Here you are, enjoy my lovelies!

that’s better. DIVE RIGHT IN!


Cacao matcha smoothie bowl 

Perfect for those summer months, or in the winter if you are mad and want cold food. A creamy dreamy smoothie bowl, that will keep you going all morning long and give you a little boost to get your day started. Try adding a handful of cacao nibs in once it has blended smooth, give it a quick final whizz and then pour into your bowl for a chocolate chip version. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 2 tbsp frozen peas (trust me with this one)
  • 1 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
  • 1 tbsp protein powder (I use hemp protein)
  • 1/2-1 tbsp raw cacao powder (depending on how chocolates you want it)
  • 1/2-1 tsp matcha powder (again depending on your preference)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 50ml-150ml plant milk/ water (start with a little bit, if it won’t blend add a bit more until a consistency you like)

Topping ideas: 

  • chopped fresh fruit e.g. Banana, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango, kiwi, choose your favourite
  • Cacao nibs
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chopped nuts
  • Seeds
  • Extra nut butter
  • Goji berries
  • Chia seeds
  • Bee pollen
  • Granola

Method 

  1. Freeze the banana the night before if you don’t already have any in your freezer
  2. Add all the ingredients to a blender. I use a nutribullet and I would recommend one of these or a similar strong blender if you want to keep it really thick. If you only have a stick blender or yours isn’t strong enough you will need to add more liquid and maybe leave the banana and peas to defrost slightly before blending
  3. Add a little squidge of lemon, this cuts through the bitterness you can sometimes get from green veg in smoothies
  4. Blend with the milk or water until completely smooth and you are happy with the consistency
  5. If you are very slow like me at making smoothies, pop in a few cubes of ice when you blend it to make it thicker and stay nice and cold.
  6. Pour or spoon into a bowl, then sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle to your hearts content
  7. Remember chew your smoothie! Your stomach with thank me later

Make the most of the last of the summer weeks, try something new, get outside in the fresh air and get those legs out in the sun, even if they’re pasty white and bruised don’t worry everyone’s the same, we’re British!

X