12 Meals of Christmas – Day 6 – Make Your Own Healthy Granola

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

One of the easiest ways to save a little extra cash, I’ve found, is to make your own cereal. Granola, when bought from the supermarket, has way more sugar and other things than its homemade equivalent. Like all things homemade, you also have greater control over the fruit, seeds and nuts you want to add in.

I’ve been making my own cereal for years now. Whilst it’s often a more basic version of granola – every once in a while it’s fun to make this tray baked oaty morning treat too. Make the granola tonight in a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week. There are no rules here, so if you want to enjoy it for lunch or after dinner, go ahead – that’s what winter food is all about!

And if you’re worried it’s going to take a lot of time to prepare – it takes no time at all. Pack your granola full of nuts and seeds and you can go to work this Christmas week feeling ready. Alternatively, pop it into a small container and have it on your work breaks.

Make Your Own Healthy Granola (Serves 3) VG

300g of porridge oats

125ml of maple syrup

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

50g of walnuts, chopped

50g of pumpkin seeds

Two apples, peeled, cored and chopped

Begin by pre-heating the oven to Gas Mark 2/150C. Add the maple syrup, oil and honey into a large mixing bowl and then add your oats, seeds and apples. Stir the ingredients together thoroughly before spreading the granola onto a baking tray with a greased baking sheet. Pop this into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, removing the granola once the apple is baked through and the oats have started to brown.

If you want to eat the granola straight away, leave it to cool for a few moments before adding milk and fruit. For using the next day, store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

12 Meals of Christmas – Day 4 – Beetroot Houmous and Pitta Chips

To celebrate Christmas, I’ve launched a brand new blog series covering the twelve days of Christmas with the 12 Meals of Christmas. Each day you’ll be getting an exciting christmassy recipe to help you save money and your belly for the big day.

We all love something to dip, right? And this is even truer at the weekends when we’re drinking with friends or recovering the day after. Yet, instead of jumping straight for the sour cream and chive dip and a bag of tortilla chips give my beetroot houmous and pitta chips a go. Through following this simple recipe, you can keep on your healthy road to Christmas and also indulge yourself as much as you want.

This recipe is made even easier if you prepare the beetroot beforehand. Check out the link to see how!

After becoming a houmous addict, I was desperate to try making it myself with allotment produce. However, I wanted the primary ingredient to be homegrown (chickpeas don’t grow well in the UK just yet). Doing a little research, I discovered that beetroot could be turned into houmous instead. Me being me, I had to adapt the recipe and make it my own.

And here it is! In just under 15 minutes you can have a delicious snack for a variety of different parties and meals.

Beetroot Houmous and Pitta Chips (Serves 3) VG

Two beetroot, cooked

50ml of Alpro yoghurt or dairy

A large tin of chickpeas

One clove of garlic

A teaspoon of paprika

A teaspoon of cumin seeds

Half a lemon

Seasoning

For the pitta chips:

Five pitta breads

A dash of olive oil

Seasoning

A dash of paprika

Taking your cooked beetroot, peel away the skins. With a knife, roughly chop the roots into smaller chunks before adding them to a food processor or saucepan ready for the hand blender.

Into the saucepan or processor, add your yoghurt, a tin of chickpeas, a teaspoon of paprika, a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a good squeeze of half a lemon and the rind of half too. If you’re a fan of garlic, crush a clove and add this too and finish with seasoning. Now blend or process all of the ingredients together with your hand blender or food processor until completely smooth.

Once the houmous is smooth, set to one side. Tear your pitta breads into long thin pieces and arrange them onto a baking tray. Heat the oven to Gas mark 6/180C. Dash the olive oil and spices over the pitta breads before placing them into the oven for around 10 minutes, or until they just start to crisp up.

Remove the chips from the oven and serve up with the delicious, zesty beetroot houmous for some perfect Friday festive food.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the 12 Meals of Christmas. If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with all of the meals featured.

Why Choosing the Right Pots is Important For Small Space Gardens

Do you ever get tired of eating a tomato in your salad that just isn’t quite juicy enough? Or that bland piece of broccoli on the side of your plate? When you grow your own food, you don’t have any of these problems. If you’re clever about it, you can also save money, too.

And it’s easier than you might think. For myself, two hours gardening a week is a luxury because I’m often in five places at once. So, whether you’re a single parent with barely a couple of hours free, a busy worker or a student – in my new Small Space Garden series, I’m going to show you how you can master healthy homegrown food and a busy life.

Winter is here. As you read this, I’m 100% certain that the idea of going outside and gardening is the last thing on your mind. Yet, doing all of your preparation this side of Christmas means no hassle when the work starts picking up again and the growing season is in full-swing.

So, if you’re interested in starting your very own small space garden on your windowsill, balcony or terrace, picking up the right-sized pots is a good place to begin. Check out the video below for my guide to finding the best pots for the highest quality crops:

 

Are you starting out on your gardening journey in 2018? What are you focusing on this winter? Let me know in the comments below

Jazz Up Your Lunch: Cheese on Toast

Cheese on toast is one of those really easy meals that we have to fall back on when there is either nothing else left in the house, or we’re tired and can’t be bothered to cook the amazing curry we had planned for the evening. Yes, we’ve all been there.

Check out my blog post on how to make an omelette that will beat that takeaway feeling, here.

How do you make your cheese on toast? When you think about it, the possibilities are endless. However, I guarantee that most of us just use ordinary cheddar, as I have in the photo above.

Continue reading Jazz Up Your Lunch: Cheese on Toast