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Healthy Cocopops

My kids love Cocopops and I remember enjoying them for breakfast too.  When I stopped buying cereal, this was definitely the one they missed the most.  So, after a bit of sulking at the breakfast table, I decided to try to make a healthier version of their favourite cereal.  I have used maple syrup here, and while it is still essentially sugar, its nutritional value is superior to other common sweeteners.  Maple syrup contains lots of beneficial minerals such as zinc, which keeps the immune system nice and healthy.  It is also an excellent source of Manganese which plays an important role in energy production and antioxidant defenses, necessary for normal brain and nerve function.  Some studies have even suggested that pure maple syrup does not cause the same spike in blood insulin levels as some other sugars.  I have also used cacao powder instead of cocoa powder.  Although it is slightly pricier, raw cacao is chocolate in its purest, unprocessed form, which simply means greater nutrition.

It was a bit trial and error, but I finally nailed it.  And yes, it even turns the milk chocolatey.

 

 

150g puffed rice ( I use gluten-free whole grain brown rice)

1 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder

3 tbsp coconut oil ( I use odorless oil)

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat the oven to 170C /gas 5

Cover a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Put the coconut oil and maple syrup in a pan on a low heat until melted.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  

Mix the puffed rice with the oil mixture in a large bowl, until it is all coated.  Tip the rice onto the baking tray and spread it out as much as possible.  You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your tray.  Cook for 6-8 minutes, keeping a close eye on it so that it does not burn.  Leave to cool and then store in an airtight container.

Makes enough to fill a medium-sized jar and keeps happily for a week.

 

 

Pecan & maple granola

I don’t buy cereal from the supermarket anymore.  It was a slow transition, but I’m at the point now where I honestly don’t even consider it for three reasons;

  • The sugar content is usually ridiculously high.  Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon, (and I found it a challenge to find a box containing anything less than six grams)
  • It’s expensive and usually disappointingly bland
  • I can make my own!

 

And so can you!  We’re not talking hours and hours in the kitchen here, it’s a 15 minute job ( not counting baking time).  This recipe is nice and simple, but can be easily played around with.  It isn’t overly sweet, which I prefer, but my kids sometimes sprinkle over a few raisins or dried apricots.  I use egg whites here as it makes the granola nice and crisp without having to use more syrup, but leave it out if you prefer.

400g oats

150g – 200g pecans ( they’re expensive so just use as many as you can)

3 tbsp coconut oil ( I use an odorless one) and extra for greasing

50g coconut flakes

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg whites whisked

 

 

Preheat the oven to 160 / gas 4, and grease two baking trays with coconut oil.

Put the coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup in a pan over a low heat and stir until the oil has melted.

Mix the oats, coconut flakes and pecans together, breaking up the nuts a bit with your hands, ( or chop them with a knife).

Pour the oil mixture over the oats and mix well to coat everything.  Add the egg whites and mix this in too.

Spread the mixture onto the baking trays in a single layer and press it down with your hands, ( or a potato masher).

Bake for 10 minutes, then shuffle it around a bit with a fork.  Cook for a further 5 -10 minutes (checking every so often that it isn’t burning), then leave it to cool before storing in an airtight jar.  It will crisp up as it cools, so leave it for as long as you can.

Fills a nice big jar and lasts happily for about a week. Lovely with almond milk / yogurt / fresh fruit.

 

 

 

 

Pear & pomegranate night time oats

I’ve always loved breakfasty birchery oaty recipies….and I find that a good bowl of oats generally keeps me going until lunchtime.  I get that ‘good mum’ ego boost when the girls go off to school with a healthy breakfast inside them too.  So it’s all a bit win-win.  I tend to buy gluten free oats when i can afford them, as I find the regular variety tend to leave me feeling a bit bloated.  I use almond milk in this recipie, as the kids don’t notice.

Pear and pomegranate night time oats. 

200g oats

500ml almond milk

2 x pears grated

1 tsp cinnamon

handful of pomegranate seeds

handful toasted flaked coconut/almonds

Drizzle of honey (local raw honey is ideal) – optional

Mix the oats and almond milk together in a bowl.  Grate in the pears and stir in the cinnamon.  Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.

Serve in bowls with the pomegranate seeds and coconut sprinkled on top.