Organic apricot and oat breakfast bake for #WakeuptoOrganic

Only a 3 sleeps to go to Wake up to Organic at your local independent retailer on 15th June 2016 where stores, farm shops and  cafes dish up free organic breakfasts to celebrate organic and show how easy it is to make the switch to organic at breakfast.

Follow us at @WakeuptoOrganic on twitter to keep up to date with the campaign and find out if your local retailer is taking part and if you do go along to an event please post photos on instragram, twitter and/or facebook using the hashtag #WakeuptoOrganic. See the bottom of this post for a full list of participating stores – though there are some last minute ones signing up!

We have lots of lovely Organic Trade Board member brands who are supporting the campaign. If you’re interested in becoming a member, you can find out more and join us by registering on our website, by clicking here.

One of the brands taking part is Clearspring who make a peach and apple fruit puree with no added sugar. When I saw it I thought it would be perfect to adapt my apple oaty bake to a Summer version, using apricots.

This recipe is really easy, and using the puree makes it quicker – you literally mix the ingredients the night before and leave in the fridge overnight, and put it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes first thing.

Organic Apricot oaty breakfast bake

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

You will need…

160-200g apricots (or you can use peaches or nectarines) chopped
350g whole oats (oatmeal isn’t the same)
100g of dried apricots
2x 100g pack of Clearspring fruit puree with no added sugar
300ml milk (or non-dairy milk alternative)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of maple syrup (optional)*
3 medium eggs, beaten
50g melted unsalted butter por coconut oil

How to…

  • Grease a shallow dish.
  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Pour in the dish, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
  • In the morning heat the oven to 160º c fan oven / 180º c / gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with a little milk poured over and chopped fruit.

*in apple recipe I don’t use maple syrup – it’s not necessary and without it there’s no sugar apart from natural fruit sugars.

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#WakeuptoOrganic breakfast bars with #noaddedsugar

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This time last month I was at Natural and Organic Products Show Europe where we launched the Organic Trade Board’s Wake up to Organic Campaign with the help of food blogger and food tutor, and more, Laura Scott. Laura made a cool green smoothie which had a great minty zing and a sumptuous granola breakfast parfait.

The campaign will take place on the morning of 15th June (it’s our second year) where all over the UK independent retailers will host #WakeuptoOrganic events where they serve free organic breakfasts to their customers and passers by to show how easy it is to make the switch to organic.

Why organic?

There are plenty of reasons to choose organic, it’s better for the environment, the animals are reared using higher animal welfare standards and of course organic produce has lower pesticide residues and is GM free. There is evidence now that there’s a difference in terms of nutrition.  A recent study  by researchers at Newcastle University, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that organically grown fruit and vegetables have:

  • Higher levels of antioxidants
  • Lower pesticide residues (which were 4 times higher in non organic) and
  • Significantly lower levels of the toxic heavy metal, Cadmium.

A recent meta analysis published by the same researchers in British Journal of Nutrition found that organic meat and dairy had:

  • about 50% higher levels of healthy omega 3 fats (which are good for heart and brain health as well as protecting against cancer)
  • Under organic standards cows must eat a 60% fresh grass based diet or hay/silage (conserved grass) which is likely to be a factor in the higher omega 3 levels.
  • Organic meat had slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats linked to heart disease.
  • Organic milk and diary has 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been associated with reduced cardiovascular heart disease, some cancers and obesity.
  • Organic milk contains slightly higher concentrations of vitamin E.
  • Less iodine than non-organic milk.¹

Both studies were meta-analyses of the available evidence which assessed peer-reviewed papers. Where studies did not meet the standards set by the researchers for methodology and/or reporting they were excluded from the review. This means the quality of the evidence included is good and the evidence is robust.

So to celebrate our Wake up to Organic launch I made these breakfast bars, based on my popular no added sugar banana and date flapjack recipe. I’ve also added nuts and seeds to increase the protein content. While these contain no added sugar they do have dried fruit in them, so it’s a good idea to have them with a glass of milk and drink water after to protect your teeth!

Wake up to Organic breakfast bars

Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking: 25 minutes
Makes 12

You will need…

150g Oats
2 large bananas (about 200-220g)
50g desiccated coconut
120g chopped dates (if you don’t have enough dates substitute chopped raisins)
100g melted coconut oil (or butter)
80g nuts and seeds (I used pumpkin seeds, chia and pecan)

How to…

Mash the bananas on a plate and put in a bowl.
Add the coconut oil, dates nuts and desiccated coconut and mix well.
Now add the oats and again mix well
Turn into a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Press down so it’s evenly spread
Bake in an oven at 190 °C or 160 °C in a fan oven or gas mark 3 for 25 minutes.
Cut into slices whilst still warm.

 

¹Historic research highlighted that organic milk contained less iodine. However, the industry has taken steps to address this. OMSCo (the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative) representing over 65% of the UK’s organic milk supply, announced that in 2015 organic milk had achieved comparable levels of iodine to conventional and in 2016, following recent testing of bottled milk, they announced these levels of iodine have been maintained. Richard Hampton, managing director at OMSCo, said; “We initiated projects to boost iodine levels and applied these to our farmer members’ enterprises, and by early 2015 we announced that we’d achieved comparable levels with those in the conventional market. Our latest results have shown that one year on from the initial milestone we’re maintaining those levels.”

 

 

Oaty apple breakfast bake with #noaddedsugar

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This breakfast dish is very popular in my house. I have to admit that eldest daughter loves it and the youngest will eat it but its not her favourite. But I think a lot of families have that going on.

You make the apple sauce in batches and freeze that makes it easier. We have lots of windfalls at the moment so am doing this when I can, in between everything else.

You make this dish the night before, we make it weekdays and weekends. All you do is turn the oven on when you get up and bake it for 30 minutes. It’s mainly measuring and mixing, so it was easy for my 2 year old to help make it last night.

Have been using windfalls for my apple sauce, I am beginning to run out of freezer space. Maybe time for another freezer.

I’ve made this dish with no added sugar, only the sugars found naturally in fruit.

Because it has no added sugar it’s suitable for weaning. Just take out the raisins as they’re high in sugar, it’s best to wait until your little one is 1 before introducing them.

You’ll need an oven-proof dish – mine is about 25 cm x 17 cm.

Gluten free and dairy free

You can make it gluten free by using gluten free oats.

Milk can be swapped for non-dairy milk like coconut drinking milk or almond milk, and the butter for non-dairy unhydrogenated spread or coconut oil.

Oaty apple breakfast bake recipe

You will need…

100g raisins
180g apple sauce (stewed apples blended without sugar)
300ml milk
350g whole oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple cored but unpeeled grated
3 medium eggs, beaten
50g melted unsalted butter

How to…

Grease a shallow dish.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Put in the dish, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
In the morning heat the oven to 160º c fan oven / 180º c / gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.
Serve with a little milk poured over and chopped fruit.

Portions and nutrition

This recipe makes enough for 1½-2 rounds of breakfast for a family of 4-5. Based on a 5 year old having a 100g portion this breakfast it contains good amounts of protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium. It makes a good contribution to iron and zinc intakes too along with key B vitamins such as B6, B12 and more. So it makes for a really healthy start to the day.

The sugar content per 100g is 9.5g (just under 2 teaspoons) but it’s all from fruit so doesn’t count towards the maximum recommended intake for this age of ‘free sugars’* of 4 teaspoons a day.

*’free sugars’ is a definition by World Health Organisation which has been adopted by the UK Governments Scientific Advisory Committee in their recent report on Carbohydrates and health. Free sugars are any processed sugar added to foods by a manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juice.

Summer raspberry smoothie for breakfast

In the rush of the morning I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of this – will have to add later. Like most, getting ready and out the house is a chaotic dash and children add to the distractions.

I can’t leave the house without breakfast. This habit was instilled in me by my mum, who while others in the 80’s were serving up sugary breakfast cereals, always made us a healthy, cooked breakfast of some sort.

These days, I find it easiest to have a smoothie, juice or yogurt and fruit with granola for breakfast.

To get the right balance of ingredients use …
about 100g of raspberries (or other berries)
1 banana
about 100ml of apple juice
1 tablespoon organic Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds (for fibre and omega 3’s)

Being pregnant at the moment, I also mix in a teaspoon of an omega 3 oil supplement. Between weeks 14-18 the foetal brain is going through a crucial stage in development, though I take the supplement throughout pregnancy. Omega 3 oils (in the form of DHA rather than EPA) are so important for brain cell development.

Whizz it all up in the blender and serve – with a straw to protect your teeth from the fruit sugars. It’s also a good idea to have some water afterwards – to get rid of any remaining sugars in your mouth. Also don’t brush your teeth for up to an hour after having anything sugary as tooth enamel is softened and brushing will erode it.

This smoothie is high in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and provides potassium, folate and other vitamins and minerals. It contains a third of your (if you are a woman between 18-64!) recommended fibre intake for the day, and provides 2 of your recommended at least 5 a day.

I took mine in the car. Invest in a flask – if you leave for work/school run early in the morning before your appetite has woken up, it will stop you from reaching for that muffin or croissant when you are out and about.

If you want flask inspiration, my lovely friend, Kate has designed these vintage inspired flasks which she sells in her Brighton Shop, Bluebelle and Co.

Home-made vs ready-made?
Making your own is so much better than buying bottles or cartons of smoothies. Aside from being cheaper, its fresh so will will have maximum vitamins and minerals, bioflavinoids and other important health-giving micronutrients – and these get depleted in processing. If you look at ingredients in shop bought smoothies sometimes only about 12% of the juice is made up of berries – the rest being from cheaper fruits. If you make it yourself you know what’s in it.

Ups and downs of fruit sugars
The pumpkin seeds may make it a little crunchy (blend thoroughly). They provide fibre, which slows down release of the fruit sugars. Sugars from fruit are released more slowly than processed soft drinks with added sugar and so do not result in spikes in blood glucose levels, which lead to insulin release which in turn makes the body store sugar as fat. So a smoothie like this will have a low glycaemic index* which indicates that its sugars are released into your blood at a slow rate.

Now I am not going to lie to you – this smoothie contains 34g of sugar in the form of extrinsic sugars which means outside of the fruit cell. There are recommendations on how much extrinsic sugar you should have in your diet. As a rule – if you have a smoothie like this for breakfast you definitely shouldn’t have any more fruit juice. And in terms of extrinsic or added sugars – keep it to a maximum of 15g for the rest of the day.

The World Health Organisation recommends that extrinsic sugars (not intrinsic sugars from milk and in whole fruit) should make up no more than 10% of energy intake. This equates to about 50g of sugar for women. While industry Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA’s) which is what some retailers and food companies use on packaging – and is a standard devised by industry, recommends a maximum intake of about 90g for women. Bear in mind this is a standard set by industry (a 500ml bottle of coke would contain more than your maximum 50g sugar recommended under WHO guidance). So probably best to follow the WHO 50g maximum level for a healthier diet, as it’s set by the independent health organisation!

Dispatches this week
Whilst writing have been reminded of this week’s Dispatches exposé of how industry are misusing 5 a day claims. Have just watched it whilst writing this. I think the programme points are fairly common sense. It’s best not to rely on 5 a day claims on ready made foods. When you are working out if you have had at least 5 a day, focus on the meals and snacks that have included fresh fruit and vegetables that you bought yourself. As outlined in the programme too, the Government should be stricter on how these claims are used by industry.

Also worth remembering that the government set the level as at least 5 a day because they thought this would be achievable by the UK population. The benefits of eating fruit and vegetables have been shown in studies where people eat 8 portions or more so that’s what you should be aiming for!

My daughter often has some of the home made juice or smoothies I make. The trick with children sometimes is not to offer it to them – it makes them want to try it. Generally children should have fruit juice diluted 1:1 at mealtimes – this helps the body to absorb iron. Don’t give any drinks other than milk or water between meals to protect their teeth.

Also if you’re thinking this won’t fill you up – I didn’t need to eat anything until lunchtime.

*You can check the Glycaemic index of a food on this University of Sydney website. The website includes GI’s for shop bought smoothies and they are between 30-44 which are low compared to the measurement for the release of glucose which has a GI of 100. I would estimate that this home made smoothie would be towards the lower end of the GI because of its fibre content.

Breakfast pancake recipe for Shrove Tuesday or any other day

We had these for breakfast yesterday, this morning and will have them for breakfast tomorrow too! Bleary-eyed and packing for a trip to France, my husband agreed to make daughter pancakes for breakfast this morning. So this is his recipe really – I had to ask him to text it to me from the airport. Tomorrow night,for a change, I might just make the old fashioned pancakes I remember from childhood… in the meantime here’s Andy’s mini pancake recipe:

For 8-10 pancakes you will need…

150g white spelt flour
1tsp baking powder
capful of vanilla extract
150ml milk (or plant based milk)
1 organic egg
10g unsalted butter
Fruit
maple syrup
yogurt (optional)

How to…

Sift the flour, baking powder into a mixing bowl.
Crack the egg into a bowl and add to the milk and vanilla extract, whisk together.
Pour the liquid mixture into the flour, beating with a wooden spoon.
On a medium heat melt a teaspoon of the butter.
Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes until bubbles appear on the top of the pancake – this shows its ready for you to turn over.
Cook the other side for two minutes.
Serve piled with fruit and a teaspoon or so of maple syrup.

Weaning

These pancakes are a great weaning food for babies, cut into strips makes them easier to handle. No need to add the maple syrup as babies shouldn’t have sugar. Serve with mashed banana.

I like mine with yogurt on the side too…

To add more fruit add about 120g of blueberries or 80g of raisins to the pancake batter before cooking. Right am off to make batter for tomorrow morning’s Lets Get Cooking breakfast at school…