Whipped banana porridge with berries

Given this is a regular feature of my morning eats on What I Ate Wednesdays, I thought it was about time I share how I make my bowl of porridge. I have been known to eat this at any time of day if I don’t feel like cooking for myself, and it is always filling and satisfying.

While it can be made in a saucepan on the cooktop, I tend to just do it in the microwave. I use a red decor microwave bowl and then transfer it to a nicer bowl if I’m feeling fancy, but often I just guzzle it straight from the microwave one to save on washing up.

To make it I put 1/2 cup of rolled oats, a sprinkling of cinnamon, 1 cup of water, and a broken up banana (I don’t even bother to cut it up) into a bowl and microwave it for 2 minutes. I give it a really good stir and microwave it for a further 2 minutes. Then I put a spoonful of peanut butter in, give it another really good stir to make it nice and creamy and finish it by topping it with 1/4 cup each of blueberries and raspberries straight from the freezer (the hot porridge defrosts them really quickly). The berries and banana offer sweetness without the need for sugar or honey and the peanut butter ups the protein content to keep you feeling full.

And that’s it – one bowl of deliciousness that will keep me going for hours – just what a busy mother needs!

What I Ate Wednesday (4/4/18)

This week has been absolute chaos and today was no exception. The day started off with a coffee in the car and a glass of water when I got home, and then by 10 I was able to sit down with another coffee, another glass of water and a bowl of whipped banana porridge with a spoonful of peanut butter and some frozen berries. (Our coffee machine was being super weird, so I’m a bit worried that’s my last coffee for a while *sobs*.)

Thank goodness I had the foresight to have a big breakfast because out I went at 11 and didn’t stop until after school pick up when I made myself a cup of tea and sampled the three new types of Oreo cookies that my mom sent. Downed another glass of water too.

Raced back out the door after that to go pick up Aaron from work. His public transport commute has gotten ridiculous so while I’m loathing the car I’m always keen to get him home sooner.

This meant that dinner needed to be quick and simple, so I went for creamy sundried tomato pasta that I can have on the table from start to finish in 20 minutes. Another glass of water!

Some leftover Easter chocolates for dessert while lying in bed with a heat pack on my back…what have I done to cause so much back pain?!!

And my version of a night cap – a cup of vanilla rooibos tea (and one last water, not pictured).

Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Olive oil shortbread with rosemary and chocolate chunks

This by far has been the most popular recipe this month with the Food52 Cookbook Club. Everyone is making it – so of course I had to try it too. Shorbread traditionally is made with bread, and with the interesting combination of rosemary and chocolate and the ease with which the recipe comes together, it is easy to understand its appeal.

All you have to do is whisk together some dry ingredients – flour, icing sugar, raw sugar, salt – then stir in the olive oil, the rosemary, and the chocolate. Roll it out into an 8 or 9 inch slab, sprinkle over some more sugar (you can brush on egg white, but I didn’t because I thought I should keep it vegan) and cook it in a low oven for 20 minutes. When you take it out you need to cut it while it’s still hot with a sharp knife.

To be honest with all the hype about this recipe, I was underwhelmed. I didn’t think that the finished product melted in your mouth the way that shortbread normally would, and it was soooo crumbly on top that it just got messy to eat. That didn’t stop us from getting through the whole batch, but it wasn’t something we ate in one sitting. It took us about a week, so yeah, probably not a great success or a recipe I’ll return to in a hurry.

What I Ate Wednesday (21/3/18)

A bowl of whipped banana porridge with peanut butter, cinnamon and frozen berries. A latte made on almond milk and a tall glass of water.

Followed not long after by another almond milk latte and another glass of water.

An open PB&J (aka two wholemeal bread ends with peanut butter and strawberry jam) and my 3rd glass of water!

An Earl grey tea with almond milk and water #4

Water #5 with 3 wafer crackers (which I since found out are NOT vegan!) spread with green olive and artichoke tapenade and some little tomatoes.

Dinner today was a bit of an experiment: one of our favourites, chicken pot parmentier, cooked in the slow cooker. It worked and it was wonderful! Oh and water #6!

A slice of birthday cake for dessert. Not gonna lie, it’s not the best cake…

Finished off with my favourite vanilla rooibos tea!

Meatless Mexican

I was so excited to see that you can now buy canned pinto beans in Woolworths that I couldn’t wait to have bean burritos for dinner. (We seriously bought 12 cans of them and also 12 cans of black beans because they were super cheap this week!) This is a meal we do quite often that I’ve adapted from several recipes to easily accomodate vegans, but you can also easily add an animal protein for the meat lovers (or if there’s a crowd to feed). But on Mondays, this is often what it looks like.

Mexican corn cake

It started with this recipe, but my method is much simpler, and instead of butter and milk, I use canola oil so vegans can enjoy it too.

Preheat your oven to 180C. Cook 1 1/2 cups frozen corn with 1/4 cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. While this is happening, chuck the following ingredients into a small casserole dish: 1/2 cup canola oil, 1/3 cup masa, 1/4 cup polenta, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tspn baking powder and 1/4 tspn salt. Then add the corn and water and use a stick immersion blender to mix it all together and to break up the corn kernels. Bake in a water bath, covered, for about an hour. I use a large ice cream scoop to serve like you’d see in many Mexican restaurants in the US.

Mexican rice

I got the original recipe here, but I’ve changed it so I can make it in my rice cooker.

Place 2 cups long grain white rice, 1 diced onion, 1 diced green chilli, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 2 cups vegetable stock, 1 Tbspn cumin, 1 tspn minced garlic, and 1/2 tspn salt in your rice cooker and stir together. Let it cook and then devour!

(If you have lemon or lime juice on hand, or fresh coriander, throw some of that on before serving. Usually we make guacamole, but alas there were no avocados at the store, so today we served it plain.)

“Refried” beans

I’m not sure where this recipe originated anymore, but basically it’s another throw everything in and give it a stir recipe. Drain and rinse 1 can of pinto beans and 1 can of black beans and place in a small saucepan. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, 1 small diced onion, 1 tspn garlic, 1 diced green chilli and some salt to taste. Cook on high until the stock has reduced by half (about 20 minutes). Mash with a potato masher or use your stick immersion blender (this helps break up the onion and chilli). If it’s too watery continue to cook until desired consistency.

From here I just set out other staples (chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grated cheese, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, tortillas, taco shells and corn chips if I have them) on the table and everyone does what they want. I made myself a bean burrito with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream in a wholemeal tortilla and then had rice and corn cake on the side (sadly our salsa was moldy and we’re out of hot sauce – clearly I’m in holiday mode still). If we’d had guacamole, I would’ve made a cheese quesadilla and had everything else as sides to dip them in. Aaron and my oldest two like to chuck everything into a tortilla as part of their burritos. Or if we have corn chips they like to make nachos and throw everything on top of corn chips and cheese that they’ve warmed together in the microwave.

The only things that make this meal vegetarian rather than vegan are the dairy products that accompany it (ie sour cream and cheese). If we were to serve this meal to vegans I’d simply make sure to have guacamole as a creamy condiment for them and wouldn’t sprinkle cheese on the refried beans like I did tonight.