Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan

Indulge in a healthy retreat to the tropics with my latest gluten free granola recipe. Filled with plump dried apricots, crunchy quinoa flakes, toasted coconut, and roasted cashews this is a little taste of the islands that will make your breakfast into an escape to a faraway locale.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have found the secret to enjoying Monday mornings. Three little things that make the start of the working week a pleasurable experience rather than something akin to ripping a bandaid off a blistered foot. Firstly: set your alarm for ten minutes before you actually need to get up. That way you can hit snooze and not feel guilty about it. I am loving having those extra ten minutes to snuggle under the covers with Chris and I wake up feeling happy and loved. Secondly: make it easy to get out the door. Make your lunch, pack your bag and iron your clothes (or if you are like me, don’t iron your clothes) on Sunday afternoon so that on Monday morning you just need to roll out of bed, shower, and get out into the world! Thirdly, and most pertinent for today: have a delicious breakfast to look forward to when you do manage to get out of bed. Enter: Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis crunchy, coconut-infused, quinoa flake granola had me bouncing out of bed this morning with a smile on my face. I knew that once I fought the traffic and made it to my desk that I had a superb, healthy breakfast waiting to fuel me through the morning. Plump, sweet dried apricots and chunks of roasted cashews are in generous supply and contrast with strands of toasted coconut, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. This mixture is coated in a touch of richly sweet golden syrup, mild olive oil, and coconut and vanilla extracts before spending some time getting golden and crispy in the oven. The result: light, crunchy mouthfuls of crispy quinoa flakes soaked in tropical coconut flavouring with a hint of sweetness from the chewy apricots and golden syrup counteracted by buttery roasted cashews and strands of toasted coconut.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeQuinoa flakes are a great alternative for people who cannot tolerate oats. I have to say, the tiny crunchy flakes are just as delicious as the traditional oats usually found in granola. This is my new favourite breakfast formula! I love my granola served over thick Greek or natural yoghurt, or eaten in sneaky handfuls after I get home from the gym at night. It makes a great car tip snack too! So jump on board the granola train and make your Monday mornings shine!

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cashews
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together quinoa flakes, cashews, sesame seeds, salt, and cardamom until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, golden syrup, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. In the last ten minutes of cookies (about 20 minutes into the cooking time) stir in shredded coconut.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven, stir in dried apricots and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free

I think our granola jar is going to be empty very, very soon. I can’t get enough of this spicy, honey, crunchy, munchy, nutty granola! Oats and buckwheat make friends with pecans, coconut, and dates for a healthy, gluten free breakfast that will help you nourish your mornings.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have become very fussy about what I share with you here on my precious internet home, which is why this post is coming to you today instead of yesterday. I had a muffin recipe all ready to go, and they were good, but just not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t going in the bin, they have been stashed in the freezer for quick snacks throughout the week. But I don’t want to share just ‘good enough’ recipes with my big internet Thoroughly Nourished Life family. I want to share the tastiest, the most nourishing, recipes you get excited to step into the kitchen to make. A Thoroughly Nourished diet is one that makes you inspired to eat delicious, healthy food every day with a liberal sprinkling of sugar to keep life sweet. So, no more ‘good enough’ food – just thoroughly nourishing, thoroughly inspiring food for every time of day.Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTuesday night, after my average muffin effort I knew I had to get back into the kitchen to make something truly amazing so I didn’t lose my kitchen mojo (it’s that little sparkle in every baker’s step). As I was getting breakfasts and lunches ready for the next day I realised that I didn’t feel like my usual oatmeal and fruit, or yoghurt and fruit combinations. I’m not usually an exciting weekday breakfast eater. I stick to those two combinations on rotation and just adjust the fruit to suit the season. So, it’s time to shake things up, time to have another Thoroughly Nourished option: bring on the granola! One of the reasons I stopped eating store-bought granola/muesli is that the gluten free options are Expensive (yes, with a capital E) – my favourite gluten free brand is $10 a box. Not happening.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe result of breakfast boredom + frugality + Nourished Life necessity = Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola. This granola is addictive, and if you squint, it’s kind of like eating a spicy, nutty, coconutty cookie. The buckwheat kernels become toasty and crunchy in the oven, and are a nice addition to the typical oats.  Dates are caramel in fruit form, add some roasted pecans and toasted coconut curls and this is one indulgent and naturally sweet and healthy breakfast sprinkle. Because that’s what granola is: healthy breakfast sprinkles!

I am the only granola eater in our house (Chris is solidly sworn to the toast and peanut butter tribe) so I didn’t want a giant jar of granola that would go off before I had the chance to eat it all, or got bored and moved on to something else for breakfast. So this is a petite jar of granola. Perfect for a week or two, depending on how many granola lovers you have in your house. If you are making granola for more than one or two, this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. It also makes a great gift!

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeA few important notes:

  • If you are using pecans or coconut that are already roasted you should add these at the end of the baking time when you stir in the dates.
  • If you like your granola extra chunky then do not stir your granola during baking time. Press it down with the back of your spoon and just check to make sure it isn’t burning at regular intervals (see recipe below).
  • If you don’t like pecans or dates feel free to switch them out for your favourite nut and dried fruit combination! Let me know what combinations you try!
  • If you want to make this vegan, you can swap the honey for maple syrup.
  • If you can’t find the buckwheat, feel free to leave it out or substitute another 1/3 cup of rolled oats.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan option | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat groats (uncooked buckwheat)
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut chips (or shredded coconut)

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together oats, buckwheat, pecans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, salt, and spices until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, honey and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. During the last ten minutes of cooking stir in the dried dates and coconut and return granola to oven.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Double Strawberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie

The wind shivers over and through our little cottage by the bay like a cold silken spirit. Its fingers find the smallest cracks in the floorboards and tickle exposed ears and necks. Mornings like this make it hard to leave the warm nest of blankets and bodies and head out into the world for a run. Even if I am only exposed to the cold on the way to the car and from the car to the gym. It’s too dark to run safely over these potholed streets and tree-shaded footpaths at the moment.

I have been having trouble convincing myself to get out early enough to run, leaving it until the afternoons instead. But time with Chris in the evenings is precious, and so morning runs make more sense. Yesterday I decided that in order to make myself get out of bed and run I needed a suitable bribe. Something sweet to start the day that didn’t involve a cupcake (you know it so easily could have). Something sweet but nourishing, and simple enough to make the night before my run or when I returned in the morning.

Double Strawberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My new found love of smoothies provided the solution, as did the new season strawberries that greet me from the strawberry farm down the road from my sister’s house. I had roasted some on a whim for dessert the night before and the remainder had cooled in my fridge overnight. Coupled with some other simple ingredients they proved just the bribe I needed to get out and hunt down those 5.5 miles before work.

Double Strawberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This smoothie is filled with intense roasted strawberry flavour, and fresh strawberries. It reminds me of summer, sunshine and warm morning runs. There is major protein here too courtesy of a post run sized helping of fat free Greek yoghurt, and good fats and fibre from a serving of chia seeds. This is a sweet bribe for a sweaty lady and it does a body good too.

If you want a vegan version, simply swap the yoghurt for ¾ cup of almond or soy milk and the honey for agave. Your smoothie won’t be quite as thick or have as much protein, but it will be just as delicious.

Double Strawberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Double Strawberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie

Serves 1  | Gluten Free | Vegan Option available

Note: to roast strawberries spread a 250g punnet of washed and hulled berries in the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar. Roast for 10 minutes. Cool.

Note: You can also add a few ice cubes to make this extra frosty if you would like.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup strawberries, roasted (see note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 150g non-fat Greek yoghurt (or coconut yoghurt)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or agave)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into blender and blend on high until completely combined.
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
  3. If not drinking immediately this smoothie will keep in the refrigerator overnight. It will thicken slightly, so you may want to stir in some dairy/non-dairy milk to loosen it up again. Or, do as I do, and eat it with a spoon!

Double Strawberry Protein Breakfast Smoothie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies

Mondays are like a blank slate. When my alarm clock goes off on Monday morning I feel like the starting gun has fired and I am off and racing through the week. Monday means everything starts again in a way. You have the chance to make the coming week whatever you want. You can wake up with a whole new approach and start taking steps for the positive. Monday also means my calendar is loaded up again. Just like most people I imagine! There is work, uni, running, family and friends to catch up with, and then the dreaded housework…It’s more like an obstacle course than a race some days I think!

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Like any race you need to make sure you have some healthy snacks to keep you fuelled along the way. I snack a lot. I am what my Mum calls a ‘grazer’. I just can’t go longer than 2 hours without something delicious to eat. I keep crackers and peanut butter, apples, almonds, mandarins, and cranberries in my drawer at work so that I always have something healthy to reach for when the need to munch arises. When I’m at home I snack on fruit, crackers, and sometimes cookies or cake…or leftover ice cream cake from my boyfriend’s birthday party….ahem.

On Sunday I had a delightfully big breakfast to celebrate my Mum: two slices of seeded gluten free bread with smashed avocado and feta and slow-roasted tomatoes. Delicious. Needless to say by lunch time I wasn’t feeling like too much lunch. I was feeling the need for a substantial snack that would leave some room for a cookie or three for afternoon tea after I scrubbed the oven. Don’t ask. A smoothie was the answer to my needs, and I was inspired by my cousin Grace’s tall glass of mixed berry smoothie at breakfast.

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This smoothie is refreshing, cool, flavoured with blueberries, and vanilla, thickened with oats and chia seeds. It filled me up until Chris and I slurped up bowls of black bean chilli for dinner. It makes a great snack for two, or a filling but light breakfast for one. This smoothie is perfect as an after school snack for kids. Sweet, but not so much that it will have them bouncing off the walls, and filling without ruining their dinner.

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies

Makes 2 small or 1 large smoothie | Gluten Free |

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, not defrosted
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or dairy if preferred)
  • 1/4 cup Greek style fat free yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free quick oats (or rolled oats)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raw almonds

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into glass/es and serve immediately.

Blueberry and Oat Smoothies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

New Old Fashioned Banana Smoothie

My sister and I have a tradition that we like to call ‘Fat Saturday’. It’s kind of like Fat Tuesday, but it happens every week rather than once a year. The premise is this: after eating nearly completely cleanly all week (hey, a girl needs ice cream after an interval run session, ok?), Saturdays are for relaxing a little and eating a greater quantity of ‘treat foods’ than we normally would through the week.

Banana Smoothie | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The trick to relaxing here, and not completely blowing out my balanced nourished life, is to getting back on track on Sunday morning with a delicious but healthy breakfast. It’s not about deprivation, or punishment, just a lighter form of nourishment. This week I was craving a banana smoothie. Something that tasted like the ice cream based ones that my Dad makes on a Sunday afternoon when the mood strikes, but in line with a skinnier start to a Sunday (oh that sounds catchy ‘Skinny Sunday’ after ‘Fat Saturday’ – what do you think Jess?).

This smoothie is thickened with a frozen banana, just like my other smoothies, only here the banana really is the star. After a quick blend with almond milk, honey, chia seeds and oats this New Old Fashioned Banana Smoothie is a power breakfast that won’t weigh you down, but gives you enough energy to power through a hard morning at work, or a hard Sunday morning shopping session. Precede the smoothie with a walk and follow it up with a fresh salad for lunch and a healthy dinner and your week will be off to a healthy start. Bonus: this smoothie is easy enough to make before you leave for work in the morning: simply dump, blend, pour into a container, and go! I have made mine the night before and it lasts well too.

Banana Smoothie | Thoroughly Nourished Life

New Old Fashioned Banana Smoothie

Wheat free. Makes One. 

I used Freedom Foods Quick Oats in this recipe. They are guaranteed wheat free, which works for my belly. If you are a coeliac, please consult your doctor for advice on whether oats are appropriate for you, or simply leave the oats out. If you do not require this smoothie to be gluten free, you can use traditional rolled oats in this recipe for the same flavour.

I keep a store of overripe bananas that have been sliced and frozen in my freezer so that I can make a smoothie whenever the mood strikes.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sliced frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oats (see headnote)
  • 1 teaspoon local honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 heaped tablespoon non-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup ice

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into blender.
  2. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Pour into a large chilled glass and enjoy your healthy breakfast.

Okay dear reader confess: do you have a ‘cheat day’? How do you get back on track after an indulgence? Any favourite treat foods? I’m addicted to peanut m&ms and freckle chocolates – once I open the packet I just can’t stop!

Peach and Banana Smoothie

There are exciting things happening in my offline life at the moment. Well, maybe, hopefully, exciting things happening, and I can’t wait to share them with you when things are a little more official. Today though, I have an excitingly delicious recipe to share with you – and it’s super healthy too! During the week I rush out the door after a run and shower and eat my breakfast at work while answering the first emails of the day. It’s always the same routine – banana, almond milk, and gluten free cereal, or maybe banana and yoghurt. It’s not world shaking.

On the weekends, when I get a little more time for breakfast, I like to put some serious thought into what I start my eating day with. There is power in the first choice you make in the morning. Eating should never be a chore, but rather a well-considered thrice daily pleasure.

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This weekend I started contemplating Saturday’s breakfast on Friday night. I wanted something light, summery and fresh to celebrate the weekend’s beautiful weather and fill me up. I wanted something healthy and filling, but I was not willing to compromised taste and pleasure either. A smoothie was in order.

Summery peaches, and ever present bananas are mixed with fat-free yoghurt, honey and vanilla in a smoothie almost too thick to suck up through a straw. It’s rich in protein, calcium, and B Vitamins; low in fat, naturally gluten free and vegetarian. It’s also like eating ice cream for breakfast – ice cream that you don’t have to feel guilty about (not that I make a practice of feeling guilty about ice cream). The other exciting part about this smoothie is that it was super easy to make – watch out week day breakfasts you are about to get a makeover!

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Peach and Banana Smoothie (gluten free, healthy)

Serves 1 very hungry person, or 2 slightly less hungry people.

This makes a really large smoothie, so feel free to divide it among two people (or be greedy like me and glare at anyone who asks for a taste). You might also want to add a little more milk to make thin it out. I keep a few frozen bananas in my freezer at all times. When they reach the just overripe stage I peel, chop, bag and freeze them so they are ready for banana bread making or smoothies!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana (peeled, chopped and frozen)
  • 1 medium yellow flesh peach, chopped, pit discarded
  • 140g fat free plain Greek style yoghurt (I used Chobani)
  • ¼ cup low fat milk (you could use dairy, almond, or soy here) (increase to ½ cup for thinner consistency)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend on high until completely combined.
  3. If the smoothie is too thick add extra ¼ cup of milk and pulse to combine.
  4. Pour into a large glass, add straw, and enjoy!

Tell me dear reader, do your weekend breakfast choices differ from your weekday choices? Any favourite breakfast foods?

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Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

Halloween is less than a week away, so let’s talk about what scares us…

I’ll go first. I am scared of birds – all birds: chickens, magpies, budgies, anything with wings has me ducking (no pun intended) for cover. I am scared that one day my cat is going to realise that we are all scared of his awesome power and use it to take over the world. I am scared of spooky movies, that weird Kraft cheese that comes in a jar (how….why…), the chemicals in bug spray, taking the rubbish out to the bin in the dark, and crawling into bed alone. I am scared of snakes and lizards and things that crawl.  I am scared of life passing me by too quickly without me remembering to seize each day and put my mark on it somehow. I am scared of missing out on adventures, leaving some corner of the earth unexplored, of losing my love of letting go and getting gone.

DSC00984There is nothing scary about these pancakes though – apart from how healthy they are! I was inspired by a post I saved a little while ago by Top with Cinnamon, but in honour of the approaching spooky season I decided to give them a little pumpkin and spice treatment. These aren’t sturdy pancakes (like these), but rather delicate and light – a breakfast (or dinner – no judgement) that won’t weigh you down. Subtly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and although they contain banana they don’t taste like it. These Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes are a breakfast that nourishes that part of your soul that needs pancakes (I can’t be the only person who has this part) and nourishes your body without filling it up with excess sugar. Pancakes you can feel good about!

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Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

This recipe was adapted from ‘2 Ingredient Healthy Pancakes‘ by Top with Cinnamon

Makes about 8 small pancakes (~3-inches across). Serves One. Choose your favourite toppings; I used berry jam and some sliced strawberries and topped the stack with some Greek yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of cardamom
  • Toppings of choice ( see above)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg whites, puréed pumpkin, banana, and vanilla essence until well combined.
  2. Sprinkle over buckwheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom and beat with a whisk until thick and fully incorporated.
  3. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and spray lightly with cooking oil.
  4. Spoon a small amount (I used about 2 tablespoons) of mixture onto the pan. Bubbles will rise to the top as the pancake cooks. Once most of these have popped (about one minute), flip over and cook for thirty seconds to one minute. Use a thin spatula as the pancakes are very delicate.
  5. Remove to a plate, keep covered until the rest of the batter is cooked.
  6. Pile up on a plate and top with your favourite pancake accessories. Perhaps try some honey, Greek yoghurt and berries, or for a weekend breakfast perhaps ice cream and maple syrup.

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So dear reader, tell me, what are you afraid of? Or, better yet, have I tempted you into making pancakes for breakfast this weekend?