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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Eat the seasons

Something I have done since  my eldest daughter was a baby is eat by season. My time working at Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming is probably where I first started. All the recipes on this blog use fruit and/or veg that’s in season.

There are lots of reasons for eating seasonal fruit and veg: reducing your carbon emissions, it’s cheaper, it tastes better, we need to support British farmers and it’s likely to have higher levels of vitamins, like Vitamin C compared to produce shipped/flown in from overseas. Have a look at the www.eatseasonably.co.uk for more info.

It’s not about abstinence but enjoying fruit and veg at its best.  It’s about connecting you with the seasons and where your food comes from. This time of year is a bit hard – I miss my salads and tomatoes, my eldest daughter misses strawberries and blueberries.* I know though as soon as those seasons come in we’ll be making the most of the produce they bring. 

With fruit this time of year, you don’t have to stick to apples and rhubarb. Buying fruit from Southern Europe, gives you more choice and buying kiwi fruit from Italy rather than Australia or South America is better for the environment. Bananas are a must have all year round too – always go for fairtrade.

I promise you, if you haven’t already tried eating seasonally,  I’m sure you and your family will grow to love it – give it a year and see. For information on what’s in season right now go to eattheseasons.co.uk  and like their Facebook page for recipe ideas and inspiration.

Navel oranges are in season at the moment …I cut some easy-to-handle slices for the babster but she went for the whole half an orange and tucked in, getting very messy.

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She’s just over a year now, and one of the ways I help her to feel independent and in control is by giving her choices, so I’ll put two types of fruit in front of her and ask which she wants to eat. Toddlers from around 18 months are learning to be in control and independent and they often do this by refusing food. One of the ways I get round this (hopefully – it worked with the eldest) is by giving choice.

I’m also buying organic kiwi fruit from Italy at the moment, I peel most of it and leave the bottom with the skin on to make it easy for my daughter to hold.

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Pomegranates are next on the list… highly nutritious and fiddly as anything – they should keep her busy for a bit …

*When blueberries, and other berries are in season, freeze some for Winter months as a treat, or you can buy frozen blueberries – they’re softer so easier for little ones to eat whole. For younger babies it’s a good idea to squish them rather than give them whole. If you live near Wimborne in Dorset (or are on holiday down that way) you can always go to Trehane Nursery and buy frozen blueberries or pick your own in July/August and freeze some. Or even better buy some blueberry plants from there, like I did.

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…