Loaded Porridge with Cinnamon Spiced Apples

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“It follows that they never understood Reginald, who came down late to breakfast, and nibbled toast, and said disrespectful things about the universe. The family ate porridge, and believed in everything, even the weather forecast.”
~ Saki

 

Now that the weather is finally cooler, porridge is one of my favourite breakfasts. It’s easy to make, and provides me with the energy to work hard all morning without flagging. Plus it’s yummy!

I load my porridge up with lots of healthy extras, but I’ll start with the basic recipe and then you can choose what else you may like to add.

Get your apples cooking first and then make your porridge.

 

Basic Porridge Recipe

Ingredients: 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1 cup of water per hungry person, pinch of salt (You may notice some brown lumps and black spots in my porridge pot! This isn’t basic – but I’ve also added a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped pecan nuts and a spoonful of chia seeds to my pot. Not necessary, but yummy.)

Method: Place oats, salt and water into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is thick and creamy. About five minutes.

This picture is of a double serving!

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Cinnamon Spiced Apples –  (I make a big batch to last a few breakfasts. Feel free to halve if you want!)

Ingredients: 8 to 10 apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or 6 whole cloves, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons raw or brown sugar of your favourite sugar substitute, 1/2 cup of water

*If your apples are sweet to eat you may want to use a little less sugar. If they are tart you may want a little more. Sweeten to your own preference. Natvia works well if you need to be sugar-free.

Method: Peel, core and chop your apples into wedges. Toss them with the lemon juice to prevent them going brown.

Place the water, sugar and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Add apples and stir to coat in the spice mixture. Leave on medium heat until water begins to bubble. Place lid on pan, turn down heat and cook for ten minutes or until apples are soft.

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To serve (unloaded):

Spoon some porridge into a bowl. Top with apples.

Add a little yoghurt and extra cinnamon if you wish. I used coconut yogurt. Heavenly!

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To serve loaded:

Here are some of my favourite porridge toppings. Choose whatever combination from the list below that appeals to you and add on top of your basic porridge recipe.

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Bacon and Egg Sandwich with Caramelised Onion

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“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
~ A.A. Milne

 

I have workmen to feed again today at the farm. This is a tasty, easy and rustic meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner with equally good results. Served up with a big pot of coffee or tea and a slab or two of my boiled fruitcake, the hungriest stomach can be made content.

What makes this sandwich extra good is using fresh, seasonal local produce. I source all of my ingredients from the local farmers markets or my back yard. Fresh artisan bread, organic free-range eggs and bacon lift this from tasty to sublime.

The caramelised onion takes a little time to make, but is well worth the little extra effort, and it can be made in advance so that you always have some on hand. This sandwich is fancy enough that I have often served it for breakfast at Christmas and New Year. At Christmas time you can substitute Christmas ham for the bacon. 🙂

Note: If you have non-bacon eaters, swap the bacon out for grilled haloumi cheese or some grilled sweet red capsicum (bell pepper).

Caramelised Onion Ingredients:

3 large brown onions, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 to 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar, salt and pepper. – This will cook down to about one large cup’s worth of caramelised onion, which would give me a hearty filling for three to four sandwiches.

Method:

Peel and halve the onions and slice. Don’t make them too thin. Place a heavy bottomed frypan over low heat with the oil, add the onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave on low heat, stirring occasionally for about twenty minutes or until the onions are soft have begun to turn golden.

Now add the balsamic vinegar, sugar and a grind or two or pepper. Continue to cook over low heat for a further ten minutes until the onions are sticky and caramelised.

Set aside to cool. Any leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to two months.

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Sandwich ingredients per person:

Two pieces of a good sourdough bread (I used a Sourdough Light Rye) or get super fancy and use half a baguette or a charming bread roll, enough bacon to generously fill each sandwich, one fresh egg, a handful of rocket leaves (arugula), and a slice of crispy apple. A generous portion of caramelised onion, a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Method:

Put your frypan on over medium heat, add a slug of oil and when the pan is hot add your bacon slices. Cook until golden but still soft. Super crispy bacon isn’t great for sandwiches. Set the bacon aside on some paper towel or in a warm oven until you need it.

While the bacon is cooking, finely cut some fresh apple into matchsticks. I used half a large Pink Lady Apple for four sandwiches. Toss the apple and rocket together, ready for your sandwich assembly.

Turn the heat down a little and add the eggs in on top of the bacon fat. You can cook them sunny side up, or however you like them. I always like to leave my yolks a little on the soft side.

Get your bread ready. I toasted mine, which is not essential, but gives the sandwich a little extra yummy crunch.

Place a generous layer of caramelised onion on one slice of bread.

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Then heap some rocket and apple on. I know that using apple may sound weird but trust me, it’s amazing!

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On goes the bacon.

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And then the egg.

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A sprinkle of salt and pepper, pop the lid on and it’s ready to eat!

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Hot Buttered Apples with Tumeric and Ginger

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“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
~ Desmond Tutu

 

This sounds like a tasty and warming dessert, right?

Well, it is, and if that’s how you want to enjoy it, go right ahead, It’s yummy and good for you.

But then again, this recipe is so much more…

Ever suffered from drug-induced nausea, morning sickness, adrenal exhaustion, upset tummy, chemo mouth or a complete lack of appetite when you need to be taking medicine with food?

These apples contain spices like ginger, cinnamon and cloves – that quell nausea, reduce inflammation  boost circulation and your immune system, fight candida and chemo mouth, and aid digestion. The fat from the butter will let you absorb all of the benefit from the turmeric, plus it gives the apples a lovely silky texture. It’s low in sugar, and soft to eat. When you’re sick it’s supreme comfort food that works to help you feel better too.

I usually make a big batch, but you could halve the recipe, or even double it! You can eat it on its own, with breakfast cereal or porridge, or turn it into a crumble. It’s delicious hot or cold, but if you’re not well, warm apples will be easier on your body.

I’ve made two batches today – some for a friend who is going through chemo right now, and some for us to enjoy at home.

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Ingredients:

12 large Granny Smith apples – peeled and sliced, 1 cinnamon quill, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 8 whole cloves, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 1 inch of root ginger – peeled and cut into fine matchsticks, 1 heaped tablespoon of butter (grassfed if possible), 4 medjool dates – seeded and chopped, natvia or other sweetener of your choice if desired.

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Place the apples in a large saucepan with about 2 centimetres of water in the bottom of the pot. Add the spices, and dates, and bring to the boil. Then lower heat.

Now add the butter to the apples, and stir through until it melts. Add sweetener if using. I used about a tablespoon of natvia for these apples. Place lid on pot and simmer on lowest heat for ten minutes or until apples are soft.

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Remove cinnamon quill and cloves before serving.

Serve on its own, or with a dollop of yoghurt, coconut cream (my favourite!) or cream and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Easy Baked Eggs Recipe

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“A recipe is a story that ends with a good meal.”
~ Pat Conroy

 

Sometimes I need a warm, easy meal that takes just  a minute or two to throw together, but that is more substantial than toast. If I’m writing, and don’t want to leave what I am doing for too long, or at the end of a long working day when I want a tasty but effortless meal, baked eggs is a favourite go-to.

Baked eggs are remarkably simple, and can be thrown together with other ingredients in endless combination. Just a minute to assemble, some oven time, and no major clean up. I will often make one to eat straight away, and another to eat cold.

Ingredients:

The basic ingredients you will need per person are an egg, some butter, a little cream and cheese, some vegetables and if wanted, a little ham, cold meat or smoked salmon.

Good vegetable choices are tomato, capsicum (bell pepper), corn, spinach, kale, mushrooms, or diced cold leftover vegetables from a previous meal (go crazy!).

This is the perfect meal for anyone who is time poor or domestically challenged. It can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you don’t have individual ramekins you could use a cup, or select a larger shallow bowl or tray and make a couple of servings in the one dish.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit) and prepare a ramekin for each person by greasing lightly with a little butter.

Slice enough vegetables to nearly fill the ramekin. Today I’ve used golden tomatoes, mushrooms, red capsicum and a little smoked salmon, all roughly chopped into smaller pieces.

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Layer the vegetables and salmon (or whatever else you are using) with a sprinkle or two of cheese and a grind or two of salt and pepper. Fill to nearly the top of the ramekin.

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Crack an egg over the top, and then pour over a tablespoon or two of cream, and a final sprinkle of cheese. Add herbs or seasoning if wanted.

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Bake for twenty minutes for a soft-yolked egg. Perfect for dunking toast. That’s the soft yolk, right in the centre of the pic, under the cheese! Mmmmm….

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Break yolk and cook for thirty minutes if you prefer your baked egg to more closely resemble a quiche. ( A good option if working and not wanting to drip egg on keyboard.)

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Serve on its own or with toast or a quick salad. So yummy and good!

I have even served these with a salad and good bread,  a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream on top, a sprinkling of herbs and given them to guests as a pretend-fancy meal when I was too tired to do proper cooking. 🙂

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Easy Stewed Apple Recipe

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“If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.”
~ Linda Henley

 

Stewed apples always remind me of my grandmothers’ kitchens. Both of them were avid fruit stewers, especially when fruit was beginning to get a little old, or soft, or if there was too much to eat fresh, or if it was tart and not so great for eating. Nothing was ever wasted in their kitchens.

Of course you don’t need old apples for this recipe. Any apples are fine. They are a simple and thrifty dessert that is easy and quick to make. Served plain, or with a little cream, custard, yoghurt or ice-cream it is wholesomeness in a bowl. I guess most people call it ‘fruit compote’ these days, but good old-fashioned stewed apples works for me.

I like to make a big pot so that I can have some for a warm dessert and some left over to gift others or to eat during the week. They are delicious served cold, spooned over cereal or teamed with yoghurt for a yummy breakfast. They also make a smashingly good base for an apple crumble. My Nana often served this apple with pork chops or roasted pork too. Both grandmothers served them up to us as children if we had upset tummies or were feeling poorly.

I’ve gone a bit crazy with cinnamon in my stewed apples (much more than what I state in the recipe). Why? It’s a brilliant anti-fungal and anti-bacterial spice, and it helps normalise blood sugar and reduce inflammatory responses within the body – so it’s great for people with lyme disease.

This recipe freezes well, or will keep refrigerated for one week.

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Ingredients:

8 to 10 apples, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or 4 whole cloves, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons raw or brown sugar of your favourite sugar substitute, 1/2 cup of water

*If your apples are sweet to eat you may want to use a little less sugar. If they are tart you may want a little more. Sweeten to your own preference. Natvia works well if you need to be sugar-free.

Method:

Peel, core and chop your apples into wedges. Toss them with the lemon juice to prevent them going brown.

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Place the water, sugar and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Add apples and stir to coat in the spice mixture. Leave on medium heat until water begins to bubble. Place lid on pan, turn down heat and cook for ten minutes or until apples are soft.

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This is me in my pyjamas and slippers, eating my yummy stewed apples and yoghurt in front of television last night. Cosy, snug and feeling very nurtured after a big stressful day.

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 PS: How cute are these slippers, although if you look closely the one on the left does look a little gnawed. Thanks, Harry!

Simple Stewed Plums Recipe

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“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”Logan Pearsall Smith

 

There is something deeply comforting about a bowl of warm sweet fruit, and stewed fruit is so simple that it should definitely be a go-to recipe in every household.

I love this easy recipe, and it is versatile enough to use with a whole range of different fruits including stone fruit, berries, apples, pears, rhubarb and pineapples. Stewed fruits can be eaten on their own or with something creamy as a dessert. They can be spooned over breakfast cereal or made into fruit crumbles, and they are even good served as a side with roasted meat.

Stewed plums have that tart-sweet flavour that I adore. If you prefer a very sweet stewed fruit add more sugar to your recipe. But I advise a light hand to start with, and taste as you go. I will sometimes omit sugar altogether if the fruit is ripe and sweet to start.

The stewed fruit will keep in the fridge for one week, and can also be frozen.

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Ingredients:

500g of plums, 2 tablespoons of sugar or your favourite sugar substitute, a squeeze of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water (Adjust the sugar to your own taste. If the fruit is very ripe and sweet you may need less. If it is quite tart you may prefer more.)

Method:

Wash the plums and drain them. Using a sharp knife cut the plums in half, twist to separate, remove stones, and then slice into smaller pieces.

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Put plums into a saucepan, and add the sugar, water and lemon juice. Don’t worry that it isn’t much water. The fruit will release their own juices as they heat.

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Place pan over medium heat, and stir occasionally, cooking until fruit is soft. This will take between five and fifteen minutes depending on how ripe the fruit is, and how small the pieces are. Taste the syrup carefully (it will be hot) and adjust the amount of sugar if necessary.

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When the fruit is done, it will be soft and luscious. I love how the plum skins stain everything a pretty ruby colour.

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Ladle the fruit into bowls with a little of the syrup. Enjoy on its own or  serve with a splodge of cream, yoghurt or ice-cream for a simple and tasty warm dessert.

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Green Boost Detox Smoothie

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“If you don’t take care of this the most magnificent machine that you will ever be given…where are you going to live?”
~ Karyn Calabrese

 

One of my most favourite things is food. And I want my food to be a delight – even as it is healing and nourishing me. This smoothie is a complete healthy meal in a glass. 🙂

Right now I’m doing my best to support my body’s methylation pathways and detoxification processes. As well as late stage Lyme Disease I have the MTHFR gene mutation and Pyrrole Disorder, both of which negatively impact methylation and detoxification – two factors critical to healing Lyme. This simple smoothie is packed full of nutrients to support those processes. Not only is it delicious –  it delivers a superb anti-oxidant cocktail to your body! In the lead-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations anything that is going to support healthy liver, digestive and detoxification functions is a good thing!

Please don’t omit the coconut cream or oil in this recipe.The fat  is essential to help absorption of the fat soluble vitamins and minerals. If you’re not a fan of coconut, substitute butter or a slurp of your favourite cold-pressed oil.

Broccoli Sprout Powder is a true superfood. Read more about it here. I also love organic Kelp Powder, which is rich in iodine and trace minerals that help support healthy thyroid function and stable blood sugar. You can find both these ingredients in health food stores.

The best way to make this green smoothie is with a high speed blender such as a Nutribullet, Thermomix, Blendotherm or Vitamix.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of strawberries ( or your favourite berries or low-carb fruit)

1 cup of kale

1 cup of parsley

1/3 cup of pecan nuts

1 scant teaspoon of organic Broccoli Sprout Powder

1/2 teaspoon of organic Kelp Powder

1/2 cup of coconut cream or 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 cup of water

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Method:

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Enjoy!