Soaked Chai Oats: A Warming Breakfast

Good Morning Guys!

I wanted to send out some good weekend vibes to you all, considering that last week was crazy busy for me with a few really exciting work opportunities and projects coming up to keep my creative mind working to develop some really delicious menus and recipes!

In order for me to get everything done in a day, how I start my day is really important. Routine is really crucial to me, so when it comes to diet and exercise I make sure to stay on top of what keeps me thriving so I can tackle each day.

In the past few weeks I’ve been plating around with my diet, adding some food items back in and taking a much more “stress free/no rules” approach. Personally, I’ve been Gluten free for 10 years and then paleo for the last 2 years. However, once in a while depending on how I’m feeling I’ll happily eat sourdough bread or use spelt grains/flour, both of which I’ve never had a problem with. I follow an 80/20 approach however recently I’ve been bringing back some extra “non paleo” foods. Everyone functions differently and everyone’s situation is different and for me I’ve noticed that with my hectic routine adding some extra carbs in has been really beneficial with helping me manage stress, to my recovery from training and helping to balance my hormones. Also it helps me remember to not get caught up in labels, and allow food freedom based off what foods really feel good to me from an intuitive approach.

I find that I’m usually being pulled in two different directions, the chef and the nutritionist – when really I’m working to pull the two together and not have them divided. Yet I find, in the nutrition realm, many of us Nutritionist have to explain why we choose to eat certain foods, or follow certain diets: eat higher fat, eat wheat, eat white carbs, eat plant based or go out for a burger. Here is my stance: eat what you want, when you want as long as it makes you happy and feel good! So if I want to eat oatmeal, I really don’t owe social media an explanation!

Speaking of which, lets chat about oats! I used to love oatmeal for breakfast, however for a while they didn’t always sit well with me and left me ravenous 2 hours after I’d eat them! So I’ve been playing around with soaking and fermenting grains the past couple of months and seeing how they would effect digestion or nutrition.

What I’ve noticed is that soaking rolled oats, not quick oats, with lemon juice for 12 hours there is a drastic reduction in starch and phytic acid. They become much easier to digest, they take half the time to cook and they dont have a crazy effect on my hunger levels or metabolism! So it’s a winning trick in my books and a good one for those days I need a little extra carbs or I just want a warming bowl of oats especially in the winter months!

Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of a nicely plated serving of Chia Farro Porridge, a dish we teach in the Fundamentals of Plant Based Cooking from the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, Online. I pick a few dishes a weeks to plate, to show the student other variations and unconventional versions of plating. I loved the flavour of the chia base we made, so I wanted to simplify it slightly and use the soaked oats to create a really hearty breakfast that would stimulate the digestive system as well.

NOTES:

  • These look like a lot of ingredients and steps BUT I assure you this is really simple and  I’ve just sectioned the ingredients so there was no discrepancies with following the recipe!
  • I’ve chosen to top it with ghee, because if you’ve never had ghee with your oats you are missing out! However ghee paired with the chai flavours a really lovely combination and is also a really comforting fat for digestion!

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CHAI SPICED SOAKED OATS
Yields 1 portion
{Gluten free, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
Soaked Oats
1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free)
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Chai Almond Milk Base
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tea bag (black tea)
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch coriander
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 pinch of Himalayan salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup (optional or 1 packet of stevia)

Cooking
Soaked Oats
Chai Milk Base
½ Tbsp ground flax
2 Tbsp almond milk

Topping
1 Tbsp ghee
orange zest
½ tsp Black sesame seeds
2 tsp Dried currants
1 tsp Cacao nibs

METHOD

  1. The night before making these oats, add the rolled oats, water and lemon juice to a small bowl. Stir together and leave on the counter over night undisturbed.
  2. In the morning when you are ready to cook, if there is residual water in the bowl, strain and rinse the oats. They will be very soft so handle gently. Then set aside until needed.
  3. In a small sauce pan, add all the Chai Milk Base ingredients. Bring to a gentle simmer with the lid on to steep the tea bag for 3 minutes. The squeeze out the tea bag and discard,
  4. Add the rinsed soaked oats and bring back to a simmer with the lid off for 5 minutes, then add the ground flax and stir in the 2 Tbsp of almond milk. The flax will make the oats quite thick so the additional almond milk helps to loosen it. Stir together for 1 minute, then pour into a bowl immediately.
  5. Top with ghee, a few strokes of the orange zest, black sesame seeds, dried currants and cacao nibs and enjoy!

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Happy Sunday Guys

Chef Steph

Avocado Lime PROTEIN Pudding

Hey Gang!

Chef Steph here dropping in for a quick recipe for you guys!

A couple years ago I was known as the Chia Queen, because I basically became a chia pudding hoarder!

I literally couldn’t live without it! Then for whatever reason I fell off the chia train. I really like to rotate my foods so after a period of time I needed a change up. However those chia cravings are starting to kick in, now that the weather has decided to cooperate and be nice!

There are many ways to enhance your chia bowl to A) be satisfying (something I find many chia recipes are not) and B) nutritionally dense. There are ways of adding extra nutrition into your chia bowl, to enhance it’s nutritional profile, some options are:

  • nut/seed butters
  • oils: hemp seed, flax, MCT, dare I say- EVOO (don’t knock it till you try it)
  • Superfoods/Boosters: protein powder, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, maca powder, matcha, spirulina, bee pollen

In terms of what makes a chia bowl satiating:

  • Fat: fat is our holy grail for all things satisfying. It provides that mouth feel that signals our brain with that satisfying feeling – which we need to stop over eating. Fats I love; coconut milk, avocados, oils (as listed above), nut/seed butters, ghee, additional nuts/seeds and coconut.
  • Protein: Yes chia seeds provide protein but for active people, especially if a chia bowl will act as a meal – it’s not quite enough. So adding a protein supplement will be helpful in boosting protein intake and feeling full longer.
  • A touch of sweetness: Have you ever just mixed chia seeds and water , then ate it? It sucks. Period. I mention a touch of sweetness because it helps balance flavours and provides us with that sense of enjoyment. You can do this with; fresh berries or any fresh fruit, dates, raw honey or Manuka honey, a little maple syurp, date sugar (contains fiber) or stevia.

While working the new Genuine Health, Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+ I wanted to use this protein to boost a chia pudding recipe. I’ve been reaching for this protein powder particularly because the new fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ is a lifestyle protein and the perfect addition to any smoothie, favourite baked recipe, or can be enjoyed simply shaken with water, milk, or beverage of your choice.

A couple weeks back at work, we had the chance to cater an Avocado Event hosted by The Healthy Maven. One of the recipes I made was a Key Lime Avocado Chia Pudding. I was obsessed with it – with a crispy almond crumble topping, oh my god….heaven. I wanted to take that recipe give it a protein shake up and share it with you guys!

This protein in particular made it extremely creamy and rich, if you want more health information on it, you can read my last post or check out their site page. The main reason I use this protein is specifically because of it’s digestive health support and how it aids in digestion rather then negatively effects it. It also contains 25 grams of fully fermented protein, which is an excellent boost to your daily diet regime!

NOTE: I cut the sweetness in this updates recipe, from my original, because this protein powder contains stevia, and I decided to drizzle the top with a little honey this time around. However I listed the actual amount of honey used in the original recipe and based of you’re preference you can add it or not.

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Avocado Lime PROTEIN Chia Pudding
Yields: 3 meal servings
{Paleo, Vegetarian}

INGREDIENTS
2 cups almond milk
½ a ripe avocado
2 scoops Genuine Health, Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+ Vanilla
Fat pinch Himalayan sea salt
1/3 cup coconut mana (coconut butter)
1/3 cup lime juice
zest of 2 limes1/3 cup chia seeds
Optional: ¼ cup honey

Toppings:
zest of 1 additional lime
Toasted pecans, chopped
Slices of lime
Drizzle of honey (if honey wasn’t added into the recipe)

METHOD

  1. In a blender, add the almond milk, avocado, protein powder, Himalayan sea salt, coconut mana, lime juice, lime zest and optional ¼ cup honey.
  2. Blend until completely smooth then pour into a container and whisk in the chia seeds.
  3. Let set in the fridge over night over night.
  4. When ready to serve, top with additional lime zest, chopped pecans, lime slices and the drizzle of honey.

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Happy Friday Guys!

Eat, fuel, thrive….and eat chia 🙂

-Chef Steph

Pear Cranberry Crumble (Paleo)

I debated over and over again about what I wanted to my first recipe post to be, then I realized simple is truly best and posting something accessible and non daunting would be the way to go.

My love for desserts lead to me making something that would fall under the dessert and breakfast category because I chose to keep this recipe relatively low sugar.

To touch on my “My love for desserts” comment; I’m not a sugar junkie, but there is something I love about watching people light up when they are served dessert. I also genuinely admire it when it’s something that’s not laden in white sugar and white flour, but used with more wholesome ingredients.

I’m not a trained pastry chef, however after culinary school I did work within some pastry kitchens and quickly fell in love with those that used the alternatives to transport a traditional dessert, or traditional ingredients into something gluten free, something paleo or something vegan. For me it really changed the way I saw desserts. I also believe that desserts shouldn’t be sugar laden, overly portioned and should really be looked at a treat and consumed in moderation, but that’s the nutritionist in me speaking.

I get it, because I’m human – sometimes you just want a damn cookie and you don’t want to care about sugar they used. Fair.

However for the other 90% of time, I think opting for the more wholesome choices will land you in a position of better balance and more will power against white sugar cravings.

In terms of winter desserts (even though it’s currently an odd 6 degrees in January), I believe it’s just as important to focus on seasonal ingredients just as you would a savoury dish. For example, if I go to a restaurant in the dead of winter and see a berry tart (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry) on their menu or lemon meringue pie – I feel like I get an eye twitch.

So for this grain free crumble I went with the humble pear, a fruit I don’t think is utilized enough. To add some contrast I added some tart cranberries (a fall/winter berry). Then to balance the flavours, I threw an apple into the mix. In this crumble, I chose not to pre cook/sauté the filling because I wanted a firmer texture as the topping is little softer then your average crumble.

As with any dish, and this is something I’ll usually do within my posts, is mention how having at least 2 of the 5 taste profiles in a recipe and some contrast in texture will allow for a more satiating meal, bite or treat. Just as there should be nutritional balance, we should also have flavour balance.

Sweet – Pear
Tart (Sour) – Cranberries
Creamy – Butter
Crunch – Pecans

Pear Cranberry Crumble
Serves 6 – 8
~Paleo~

Ingredients:
3 D’anjou , peeled, sliced into rounds – remove core
1 fuji apple, peeled, sliced into rounds – remove core
½ cup frozen cranberries – halved
1 cup (86g) not packed, blanched almond flour
¼ cup (33g) coconut flour
1/3 cup (49g) coconut sugar
1/3 cup (73g) chilled butter, cubed
¼ tsp sea salt
1/3 c (52g) pecans, roughly chopped
2 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp grated ginger
¼ tsp ground clove
1-2 Tbsp Ice water (optional)
2 Tbsp (22g) butter, melted for filling
2 Tbsp (13g) tapioca flour, for filling
2 Tbsp (1 oz) orange juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 2”deep baking dish.
  2. Add your sliced pears and apples to a bowl of acidulated water, just squeeze ½ a lemon and add the half lemon into the bowl of water. This is to prevent from browning will you’re prepping the rest of the ingredients. Strain, when ready to use.
  3. All the almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon and the 1/3 cup chilled butter to the bowl of a food processor.
  4. Process on high to form a dough, if it’s too granular then add the ice water 1 Tbsp at a time until it just comes together. Remove and fold in the chopped pecans, then set aside.
  5. In a small bowl whisk the orange juice with the tapioca flour, to create a slurry and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the strained apples and pears, cranberries, orange zest, 1 tsp cinnamon, ginger, clove, melted butter and slurry.
  7. Layer the filling in the bottom of your pan and pour over any remaining juices.
  8. Crumble the topping over the entire layer fruit, then bake for 45 minutes until the crumble topping is golden.
  9. Let cool for 15-20 minutes then slice and serve.

 Notes:

  • If you’d like this sweeter, you could add 2 Tbsp of coconut sugar into the filling to make it a little richer.
  • You could top this with coconut cream or a full fat dairy cream of your choice.

I hope you enjoy, if you have some awesome crumble combinations I’d love to hear about them!

-Chef Steph