I'll be honest — Chinese New Year isn't a time I love. It's been that way since I was little. Every sound feels a few decibels too high, the schedules too packed, the food too much. Every well-meaning family wants to share their favourite pineapple tarts and I'm sometimes too meek to say no even though I really, really do not like these sweet pastries.
So after we've had our daughter, we started packing homemade snacks for her (and also for ourselves) and in the name of nutrition and health, we've managed to get away from some of the festive calorie-laden snacking.
This is a little part of our arsenal of breezy, light bring-alongs for the family, easy on the palate, and makes for healthy starts to hurried schedules, also perfect for mid-day energy slumps!
Coconut Maple Lime Granola
(Recipe adapted from Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai)
Pack this in an airtight snack box with a spoon. Reach in and fill your day with this tropical dream! Healthier than any new year snack, and to us, way tastier too. Ok confession, since it's the new year, we add dark chocolate chips too. :)
• 3/4 cup coconut oil
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (roughly 2-3 large limes)
• Zest of 1 large lime
• 2-3 tablespoons caster sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• Pinch of sea salt
• 5 cups raw rolled oats
• 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds
• 1 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Line a large tray with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together everything except the oats, nuts, seeds and cranberries.
3. Add the oats, nuts and seeds and combine well. Make sure that the oats are well coated with the oil and lime mixture.
4. Pour mixture onto tray, spreading it evenly.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir through the mixture every 5-10 minutes to ensure even brownness.
6. Remove from oven and allow granola to cool, for about 20 minutes. Stir in the dried cranberries.
7. Store the completely cooled granola in an airtight jar. You may wish to store the jar in the fridge. This should keep for about 3 weeks.
* This makes a big batch of granola, so be sure to use the largest tray you have, and stir through every 5-10 min diligently during the cooking process.
* Every oven is different. My usually very hot oven took a long time to achieve the brownness I want. By the 25-minute mark, you might want to monitor your granola more closely to prevent burning!
* For the mixed seeds and nuts, I use mainly organic ones - flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews. Feel free to substitute!
* I used the zest of one large lime. I think it could do with more, if you really like lime! Mine are locally grown by my grocer downstairs. Pretty amazing!
* To be honest, I didn't measure the sugar, so it's just a rough estimate. Sugar is needed for the granola crunch, so do add some, albeit sparingly.
Chocolate Chia Pudding
(Recipe adapted from minimalistbaker.com)
My default weekday breakfast! It's creamy, easy, healthy and CHOCOLATEY. My berry-loving girl always carries a snack box of blueberries to go with this. As always, I like mine with mint and sometimes some coconut flakes. So light, so pretty!
- 1 1/2 cups milk (fresh milk or nut milk, doesn't matter!)
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli's)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (more if you wish)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt (sparingly!)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a wide-mouthed mason jar or any other airtight container suitable for transportation. Whisk well and chill in the fridge overnight. When ready to eat, sprinkle coconut flakes or cocoa nibs or crown with fruits of your choice!
Now, now, this is a must-have for the road, for the adults, that is! We learned from the good folks of Soul Kitchen that a palate-pleasing ratio of coffee to water is 1:8. Simply add filtered water to the coffee grounds in an airtight jar and let it sit for 18 hours in room temperature. After that, portion and chill in mason jars to get them ready for the road! I pack mine in a flask and it's a beautiful perk to any day. I haven't been paying precious bucks to cafes for something so easy!
Our little missy clearly drinks more when the water is a little fancy. You don't need any recipe for this — just go with whatever is fresh and pretty! These are some of favourite infusions:
- Dill sprigs with lime and cucumber slices
- Lime, lemon and orange slices
- Raspberry and lime (Lovely flavour but I don't like how the berries bleed and become whitish over the day though!)
- Rosemary sprigs and orange slices
- Mint sprigs and citrus with strawberries
Have a blessed time of gathering festive moments while eating right and light!