Cinnamon Fruit & Nut Granola

Have you often walked around the supermarket and stood in the breakfast isle a little too long trying to decide what to buy? If you’re health conscious and understand food labels, you’ll be staying away from the artificial cereals that contain sugar and salt. You’ll be trying to look for something satisfying that won’t hinder either weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. This can be difficult! Especially when there are so many tempting alternatives trying to draw you in.

My problem was sticking to the same breakfast each morning. I got bored with what I was eating. It’s good to constantly change the flavours you are consuming and to keep your tastebuds interested. Have a smoothie one morning, a bagel the next, delicious granola the day after that. The best thing about this… you can make them all at home! You know exactly what is going in to the food you are eating; nothing artificial. If you’re brave enough, you can even make your own bagels! (If you saw my post a couple of months ago, you will know that this is not something I am very good at…)

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Granola… Now this is something I can make! And I believe it tastes 100% better homemade than the shop bought variety! Each time you make it, it will taste different and that’s the beauty of it! No bowl is ever the same 🙂

Once you’ve given it a whirl, you’ll be making many variations and storing them ready for the breakfast on the go pots, the lazy weekend mornings in bed, the early morning office meetings… you get the picture.

Here’s a simple recipe to get you started if you’re a newbie, and if you’re already a pro, this granola is particularly good (if I do say so myself).

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Makes 1 large jar

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds (or whole, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup flax seed (optional)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dried dates
  • 1 cup of chopped dried figs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Melt coconut oil, syrup, cinnamon and ginger. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet and place in a pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes at 180C.
  • Keep turning the granola so it toasts evenly and does burn!
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Stir in dried dates and figs.
  • Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh.

SERVING SUGGESTION (My favourite way to eat Granola) – Yoghurt of choice in a bowl, fresh fruit chopped up, a sprinkling of chia seeds and a big tablespoon or 2 of granola on top. Delicious! And keeps you going until lunch! (Most of the time…)

You can try many different variations depending on what dried fruit and nuts you have in at the time.

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There is so much goodness to be soaked up when eating homemade granola. You can add ingredients depending on what your desired outcome is. Need an energy boost in the morning? Post-Workout granola? Feeling fruity? In need of an injection of iron? Or vitamins? Or protein? You can tailor your granola to serve a particular purpose as well as leave your tastebuds tingling and your tummy satisfied.

If you have a requirement but aren’t sure what ingredients fulfil this, please get in touch. I would be happy to help. Would love to help in-fact 🙂

With my next batch of granola, I will post my variation. At the moment, I am swaying towards dried apricots, pistachios, and vanilla. My mouth is already watering at the thought! I haven’t even tucked into this jar yet! You’ll never be able to call breakfast dull again!

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Love and Lemons xxx

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Homegrown Produce & A Weekend of Jam Making

Sitting in the garden on a summer’s evening, the sun glistens on the cherry tree’s dew from the recent downpour. You can count on the beautiful UK weather to keep the plants refreshed. It’s almost possible hear the small berries soaking up the water and turning into a beautiful red ball of deliciousness ready to be picked. These are to the left of me, and to the right, green bean stalks are slowly crawling up bamboo shoots. If you look closely enough, you can see the first signs of bean life. One of my favourite things is to pick the pods straight out of the garden and eat the peas inside raw. The crunch and flavour they hold is delicious.

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Amongst these in my garden there is a mixture of delights being nurtured; including strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, pak choi, salad, asparagus, spinach, onions, basil, lemon balm, oregano, thyme, chives, mint, rosemary, parsley, sage, and fennel. Some of these are growing wonderfully, ad others not so much. Have you ever tried to grow asparagus? We definitely haven’t had an edible crop yet, but this is the fun of homemade produce! Sometimes it works, and sometimes it’s a disaster!

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Growing your own fruit and vegetables is wonderful. You don’t have to have a big garden with lots of space to do it either! You don’t even have to have a garden! Think of how lovely a box full of scented herbs would look in your kitchen window. I’m lucky enough to have a ‘gardener’ i.e. The boyfriend, to sow seeds and tend to the produce living in our back garden. And… just a short walk down a path, leads to open land behind our house, and that leads to rows of bushes full of juicy blackberries screaming to be picked. It is this little walk that leads me to this blog post. What do you do with a basket full of the sweet berries… you make jam of course! That is exactly what I did.

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The rhubarb season has already been and gone so only the remains of this can be seen poking out through the freshly turned soil. It was a good crop this year, so I saved each stalk, cut it into bite size pieces and froze it for a rainy day. Today has been half rainy, half sunny, so I’ve used that as an excuse to defrost and turn the beautiful fruit into jam just like the freshly picked berries. If I’m doing one type of jam, I may as well go for it and do two. Seeing the finished product in jars and cooling on dining room table puts a big smile on my face. I can say that the jam has been lovingly created from homemade and handpicked fruit. It feels wonderful and I can’t wait to share it with friends and family.

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I have taken two traditional flavours and given them a little modern twist. That additional touch, I believe makes all the difference and sets the jams apart from any of the others currently half eaten in my kitchen cupboard.


Jar 1 – Blackberry & Vanilla

Jar 2 – Rhubarb and Ginger


There’s something quite therapeutic about watching berries burst when exposed to heat and the smell of rhubarb as it fills every room in the house with a wonderful scent.

Usually I would decorate the jar with a hessian cover and ribbon, which will happen at a later date… But I just couldn’t wait to share these with you, so you are seeing the bare product, fresh from the stove. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t nearly drop the jars a few times due to the heat of the glass whilst trying to take photos! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the decorated finished product soon enough! So keep your eyes peeled 🙂

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Recipe 1 – Blackberry & Vanilla Jam (Made x2 medium jars)

Adapted from ‘Grandma’s Special Recipes; Jams, Jellies & Preserves’

Ingredients:

– 450g Blackberries

– 450g granulated sugar (I used white)

– 2 tbsps lemon juice

– 1 tbsp vanilla extract (Needs to be good quality)

Method:

– Sterilise a couple of jars and leave to dry or place in oven on a very low heat.

– Put the berries into a pan (not aluminium) and place over a low heat until soft. Press fruit lightly with a wooden spoon during this stage so the juices are released.

– Add the sugar, lemon and vanilla and stir until all ingredients have dissolved.

– Turn up the heat and boil until setting point is reached. (It’s easy for the jam to burn if left so keep stirring regularly.)

(Note: the temperature at which jam sets is 104C/219F, so if you have a sugar thermometer, hook it to the side of the pan. If not, place a small plate in the fridge to cool whilst the jam boils. Drop a blob of jam on cold plate and place back in fridge for a minute. If jam wrinkles or doesn’t close back up when a finger is run through it, it’s done.)

– Spoon into jars and seal tightly. Leave in a safe place to cool before storing.


Recipe 2 – Rhubarb & Ginger Jam (Made x3 medium jars)

Adapted from Ruby Tandoh’s column in ‘The Guardian’

Ingredients:

– 600g rhubarb, chopped into 3-4cm chunks

– 600g granulated sugar (I used a mixture of white & golden)

– Juice of 2 small lemons

– Chunk of grated ginger (Amount depends on your preference. I used 2 tbsps.)

Method:

– Sterilise jars and leave to dry or put in a warmed oven.

– Mix rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a large pan (not aluminium) and put over a low heat.

– Mix in grated ginger and heat until mixture starts to soften.

– Let jam boil for roughly 10-15 minutes (stir regularly).

(Note: the temperature at which jam sets is 104C/219F, so if you have a sugar thermometer, hook it to the side of the pan. If not, place a small plate in the fridge to cool whilst the jam boils)

– After about 10 minutes, check the temperature or place a small blob of jam on the cool plate and put back in the fridge for a minute. Run your finger through the jam and if it wrinkles or doesn’t close the gap again, it’s ready to be jarred.

– Leave to cool for 15 minutes, the pour into sterilised jars. Leave to cool in a safe place before storing.


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In no time at all, you have a collection of jars cooling, ready to spread on the eagerly awaiting Monday morning toast, or stirred into creamy porridge. Brilliant pick-me-ups for a long day in the office.

Already started planting those seeds and walking the paths finding berries? Thought you might have 🙂

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Until next time…

Love and Lemons xxx

Green Super Smoothie

I haven’t posted for nearly two weeks due to being so busy! Why does life have to get in the way of sharing beautiful food with my wonderful followers?

I have some exciting posts to come, but for now as a little thirst quencher, let me introduce you to my utterly delicious on-the-go superfood smoothie. I created this one morning after a home workout, so I could drink it in the car on the way to work. It’s definitely my go to smoothie now when I want a boost first thing in the morning, or I feel like having a smoothie for lunch. It can be made in advance too so even more time is saved! Make the night before and put in the fridge for a quick fix the day after, or it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks in the freezer. You know what this means… MEGA SMOOTHIE BATCH MAKING for the ultimate laziness.

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I don’t usually weigh out many of the ingredients (apart from a couple) and just put in the quantity I feel like at the time. So you can adjust to your own preferences. My blender is the perfect cup size so I know stuffing that full to the brim with goodness is the right amount to make a perfect sized cup.

Ingredients: (Makes 1)
– Half a banana
– 1 Kiwi
– 1 tbsp. of peanut butter (no palm oil)
– 1-2 tsps. grated fresh ginger
– Handfuls of spinach
– Juice of half a lemon
– 1 Cup of coconut milk
– Half a cup of water (this can be adjusted depending on your preferable consistency and volume)
– Sprinkle of chia and sunflower seeds

Add to blender in this order, whizz and enjoy.

Happy slurping!

Love & Lemons xxx