Last week, fern and I set off to Suffolk where we were co-teaching a class on healthy breakfasts to a mumma and toddler yoga group. I was doing most of the talking (though Fern gave her fair share of ‘yumms’ and ‘more!’) and together we were demonstating how delicious wholesome, vibrant breaksfast foods could be. She does a great job at handing out all the little bowls and eating way more than her fair share of granola bars and smoothie bowls! The class was delightful, super casual as we all had toddlers to keep us on our toes and the eating got rather messy at times. It was a pleasure to teach with this group of enthusiastic mothers and babes, as we together shared our trials and tribulations in the kitchen when it came to feeding our littles and inspired each other to try new things. Thank you Katharine for bring us all together!
The theme of the class was healthy toddler breakfasts, and breakfasts being my favourite meal of the day made it a fun topic to teach! I had come up with three simple recipes that my little girl loves and will devour any day of the week, but I could actually write a huge list of foods which regularly made it to our morning table. I believe in thinking outside the box when it comes to meal times, and variation being the key so meals don’t become boring. I never eat the same thing every day, and we share all of our meals together so knowing what to put together to make meals that everyone will enjoy is key. Having some pantry staples and quick recipes up your sleeve helps a great deal in breakfast preparations, as well as some instant snacks for when you are in a real hurry! Below are some of our favourite breakfasts that we enjoy regularly, plus some time-saving tips that help when you’re faced with a hungry toddler. Today’s recipe is one of our favourites at this time of year, when we want something hot in the morning and need something instant. I’d love to hear some of your childrens favourite breakfasts, so do let me know in the comments below!
Toddler breakfast top tips:
1 Pre-soak nuts the night before if you plan on making nut milks in the morning, or use cashews or hemp seeds with don’t need soaking or straining.
2 Always keep frozen peeled bananas and berries in the freezer, and even freeze peeled avocados and leafy greens if you have surplus.
6 Try some of the ideas below!
Hail the mighty oat, with it’s abilities to keep us going and give us that go-go energy but release it sloooowly, without the crash and burn effect of refined grains and sugars. They’re one of my Top 10 foods. Be it made into humble porridge, granola bars, crumbles or even smoothies, I can’t get enough of them.
During winter, I use my slow cooker often, but mainly for making breakfast porridges rather than evening dinners. Slow-cooked grains cooked in creamy milk, spices and fruits overnight take on a totally different texture than those cooked on the stove top, and waking up to your breakfast all ready made and ready to serve is a simple pleasure that sees me through the cold dark days! I thoughly recommend investing in one if you don’t already own one, as you can often pick them up cheaply second hand (ask your grandma if she has one she doesn’t use any more!) They keep the cooking bowl at a constant temperature of 70-90 deg C, and over an 8-12 hour cooking period, you’ll be greeted with a totally mushy, sweet, soft, flavourful bowl of porridge sure to starve off any winter morning hunger.
I enjoy my porridge so many different ways, from the grains that I use (yes porridge refers not only to oatmeal but many other grains too!) the flavours I add and the method of preparing. To contrast the very soft smooth texture of slow-cooked porridge, I like to add a crunchy topping of granola, seeds and fresh and dried fruits to turn it into something special. A dollop of yogurt, chia-jam or spoonful of ghee wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
I cook this variation of porridge in coconut milk, as I love the creaminess it gives, without it having an over-powering coconutty taste. I add a chopped apple, although bananas and pears I’ve tried too with much delight, and my favourite porridge spices, ginger and cardamom to add more warmth and flavour. As with most recipes, go with your own ideas here, the quantities and method are just there for your guidance.
So go get that go-go energy but remember to go slow too. At this time of year, when nature is going into hibernation and the trees all shedding their leaves to go dormant, we seem to find ourselves rushing around in a flurry of business, going against natures call to take it slow. We have the longer days to look forward to when we can spring forth all of the ideas we have visualised over winter. Lets all take life a bit slower at this time and take time to appreciate the simple things in life. Porridge is defiantly one of my simple pleasures.
Notes: As you may have guessed, this is one of my toddlers favourite breakfasts, and as it is ready the minute we crawl out of bed, it is the perfect quick toddler breakfast. I like a mixture of crunchy and sweet toppings, and Fern like to mix everything up in her bowl and create a beautiful mess : ) + Top tip for removing the seeds from a pomegranate; cut it in half across the middle and bang the skin with a spoon over a bowl until all the little seeds fall out!
Makes 4 adult servings
1 cup rolled oats
1 can coconut milk
3 cups water
1 medium apple, peeled and roughly chopped
1 “ginger root, finely grated
1/2 tsp crushed cardamon pods
chopped dried fruit
Chia jam – see recipe below
Place all of the porridge ingredients in your slow cooker before you go to bed and turn on low. In the morning, you will wake up to the smell of spicy, coconutty apple aromas which will lure you out of bed and straight to the kitchen, I assure you.
Give the porridge a good stir, un-sticking any bits which have stuck around the edges. If it needs extra liquid, add some hot water or plant-based milk, and stir until everything is well combined. the apples and dates should have broken down and the mixture should look smooth and creamy. When ready to serve, spoon into bowls and add your toppings of choice.
Berry chia jam
1 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp maple syrup/ sweet freedom syrup/ brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp chia seeds
place the berries in a jar (defrost if frozen) and place the rest of the ingredients on top. With a spoon, mash together so that the berries get mashed and the chia seeds are well mixed in. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes for the seeds to soak up the berry juice and for the jam to become thick. Store in a jar for up to 5 days.