Seriously Super Cereal

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Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

If you were to nominate one meal a day for a facelift, would it be breakfast? I thought so. Breakfast can be a challenge for many people, including myself. I get into super groovin’ streaks with morning meals for weeks on end at times, feeling like I’m sooo on top of everything in my life. Then something happens, breakfast becomes less of a priority and I end up making the same smoothie or sourdough smeared with almond butter over and over again. Okay, now that I am writing this down, it really doesn’t sound all that dreadful, but for me, starting the day in not only a conscious, but enthusiastic way sets me up for the rest of my waking hours. It fuels me in ways that go beyond calories: it’s self-love, ceremony, and celebration.

Ironically, I make a very complete and healthy breakfast for my 14-month old every single day without even thinking about it. Before I go to bed at night, I soak whole grains, nuts and seeds, rinse them in the morning and cook them with fresh fruit, spices and superfoods. So, um, what about mum? Funny how it wasn’t until recently that I thought about myself and how I would like the break the fast. I guess that’s just “being a parent” sometimes, but I am now committed to making a change. It is a New Year after all.

Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

Serious Cereal and a Plea for Carbohydrates
When someone says that they eat “cereal” for breakfast, what do you picture? A bowl of steaming hot whole grains, or sugary flakes in milk? I tend to imagine the latter, and I suppose it’s because that was my breakfast growing up. We had a few kinds of packaged cereal, and not total junk food, but I do recall the odd time we could convince my mom to buy some rainbow-hued concoction in a moment of weakness. I get it: boxed cereal is mindlessly easy, requires no cooking, soaking, stirring or waiting.

But this. This is serious cereal. Real cereal. The kind that stands behind its name, and not the kind that has led us so far astray from what cereal actually is that we’ve mostly forgotten it’s meaning. It’s unprocessed, unrefined, completely whole and natural, and the real way we are meant to eat grains.

And while we’re on the subject, I would like to make a case for carbs. When yet another friend of mine felt the need to accuse all carbohydrates of being evil, I wonder how we’ve become prejudice against macronutrients?! It’s like the diet dark ages.

Carbohydrates are not the devil. Many modern eating plans out there vilify them for various reasons, but we need to remember that the majority of grains and grain-related products that people in developed counties consume are highly processed, refined, and stripped of nearly all their nutrients. This was originally done to prolong shelf life, but continues as we’ve developed a taste for them! It turns out we prefer sweeter food that is faster to cook and easier to chew (go figure). From a biological standpoint, this makes perfect sense, so it’s rather difficult trying to convince people to spend more money on food that spoils faster, takes longer to cook and eat! Argh. I can only promise you it is worth it. And once you start replacing refined grains with whole grains you will feel why. Eating them in balance with both fats and proteins is a much healthier and quite simply, a more sustainable way of living.

My point here is this: let’s stop looking at food in its respective parts (carbs, fats, proteins), and get back to the whole picture, the whole food. Choosing a balanced way of eating, as close to nature as possible is the most realistic plan for eating long term. Going to extremes (low-carb! no-carb! fat-free! high-protein!) is not a sustainable way of eating or living. What I propose instead is a sensible, flexible dietary strategy that we can incorporate successfully, and joyfully, over a lifetime.

McKel Hill wrote a couple stellar articles about carbohydrates over on her site, Nutrition Stripped. Check them out – very clear and thorough reads for those of you who want to know more!

Seriously Super Cereal // My New RootsI made this cereal blend with a few things in mind. For one, I wanted the mix to be gluten-free so that we can all enjoy it. I wanted something that could keep outside of the fridge, as rolled grains spoil relatively quickly if left at room temperature (how long have those quick oats been sittin’ in your cupboard, ya’ll?) so I chose only whole grains that are relatively shelf stable. And of course, I also wanted the cereal to actually taste good, which it does. The texture is also very pleasing, not mushy or glue-y like some of the other porridges I’ve tried. The sunflower seeds add a wonderful tooth and the grain size differences make for a satisfying mouthfeel (yes, I just used that word).

Although I highly recommend soaking the cereal overnight, you can of course cook it from raw the morning you are eating it. In both cases however, rinse the cereal under cool running water before cooking. I use a very fine mesh sieve for this, as the chia and amaranth seeds will fall through large holes.

Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

Once cooked, add whatever you like to the porridge. I love a little nut milk poured over the top for creaminess, plus a drizzle of maple syrup or honey, which makes everything delish. I made up a couple seasonal bowls in hopes of inspiring you: one with pear, roasted hazelnuts, and pomegranate seeds; the other with persimmon, toasted coconut flakes and bee pollen. Warming spices like cinnamon and cardamom are tasty stirred in, as are dried fruit, like apricots, raisins, goji berries, mulberries, or figs. Basically, this breakfast is infinitely customizable for every palate and season. Find your groove and just enjoy filling yourself with nourishing goodness from morning’s first light.

Seriously Super Cereal // My New Roots

The below batch recipe is a good starting amount, and will make 18-19 portions if you go with ¼ cup / 50g servings. I find this amount is perfect for me once I add in fruit, some nuts or seeds and superfoods, but if your calories needs are higher, go for 1/3 or 1/2 cup servings. If you want to double, triple or quadruple the batch amount, feel free to do so. I just recommend making this amount first and testing it to make sure you really like it, then you can make it your go-to cereal.

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My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season

For those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that I received the first hard copy of my cookbook this week! Eek! I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all SO MUCH for the incredible love and enthusiasm. I couldn’t write this post and not tell you how much I appreciate your words. Sheesh! I am bursting with gratitude.

I have to mention again that the book is only available for preorder at this time, here. The book drops in North America March 31, UK and Australia April 9, Denmark May 21, Netherlands in June and Germany this summer. Thanks everyone!!

with a full heart,
Sarah B

Show me your Seriously Super Cereal on Instagram: #seriouslysupercereal

A Winter Weekend Cleanse

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Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Happy 2015, dear friends!

I wasn’t sure about doing a detox post this year simply because it seemed predictable, but over the past couple weeks, my body told my brain to stop thinking so much and just do what I feel. Smart body.

There are many reasons people feel the need to press the reset button this time of year. Overindulgence, chronic stress, feelings of fatigue or sluggishness are the usual suspects, but there are also positive grounds for clearing out the cobwebs such as wanting to gain more energy and increase vitality, achieve higher levels of clarity, and realign with our internal guidance systems. I know the telltale signs for myself, and they usually involve a slight disinterest in eating (sounds crazy, I know), along with the desire to examine my food-body-mind relationship. Since I am often cooking everyday for a living, I can sometimes lose sight of the total magic that food is. If I slice open a head of red cabbage and fail to swoon, or that pomegranate doesn’t bring me to my knees in awe, I know it’s time to take a break, simplify, and make space for those feelings again.

But how can we make this really easy? I’ve gotten so much positive feedback from my past cleanses and detox programs for Oprah magazine and Whole Living magazine, (all of which are still online here, here and here), but one thing that people mention is how much food there is! Taking that into consideration, I thought I would design a super-simple plan this year with only two recipes and you can make the decision how long you want to go for.

One smoothie. One soup. Both are alkalizing, filling yet detoxifying, mega green but super tasty. In fact, I’ll wager that you’ll love both of these recipes so much that you’ll be enjoying them long after the cleanse is over! The Ginger-Mint Pear Smoothie is luscious, sweet-and-spicy with cooling mint and creamy avocado. The Cilantro Spinach Sweet Potato Soup is like eating a crazy-delicious hug.

Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Detoxifying Habits

It’s true that certain foods and herbs can aid in the detoxification process, but what else can we do to boost our cleansing process on a daily basis?

Exercise: Moving our bodies is essential for balance and overall health because it creates the conditions to breathe deeply, stretch, circulate the blood and lymph, and sweat. The more we move, the more efficient our body becomes at circulating and flushing out toxins. Gentle, low-intensity exercise such as yoga, stretching, or walking is best during a juice fast or reduced-calorie diet (such as this weekend cleanse), while high-impact exercise is recommended at least 3 times a week once you are back to eating a regular, healthy diet.

Dry skin brushing: Dry skin brushing helps stimulate your lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of toxins. Skin brushing improves the surface circulation on the skin and keeps the pores of the skin open, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, and resulting in an improved ability to combat bacteria, plus helping your skin to look and feel healthier and more resilient! Skin brushing also strengthens the immune system and helps aid the digestion system, both of which are greatly involved in the detoxification process.

Take a sauna: Although it is a major eliminative organ, most people’s skin is very inactive. Sweat is a most important elimination route for toxins. Repeated use of the sauna can help slowly restore skin elimination. Viruses, toxin-burdened cells, and tumours are weaker than normal cells and tolerate heat poorly. The heating of the tissues, which takes place in a sauna helps the body heal from infections and disease more quickly. I make it a habit to go to the sauna once a week for a deep, cleansing sweat. It feels amazing and does a body good!

Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Below is a sample plan for the Winter Weekend Cleanse. You can do the program for just one day, but I would recommend at least two to really feel the benefits. You can also go longer if you like, and include one or more of the recipes from my previous programs to compliment the new one, just so those taste buds of yours stay excited! Drink as much water as you feel like / need, but consume at least 1½ liters throughout the day. Always begin the day with warm water with lemon, as this will assist in flushing your digestive system, preparing your tummy for food by increasing stomach acid, and alkalizing your entire system. Herbal teas are acceptable, but choose ones that are particularly detoxifying. Burdock, cleavers, chickweed, yarrow, nettle and plantain are some of my favourites. I also have a wonderful Detox Tea Blend recipe here.

You can eat your smoothie for breakfast and afternoon snack, but it also fills in for a lunch if that is all you feel like. You can make up the entire batch for a day (the recipe makes about 3 cups / 700ml) if you know you’ll be on the go and sip on it when you need a pick-me-up. Or you can divide the ingredients in half and make it fresh if you’ll be near a blender.

Since we are in the colder months of the year here, I’d encourage you not to use frozen fruit, as it’s important to keep warm when the weather is not! I like to enjoy this smoothie at room temperature, and I promise it’s just as delicious as its cold counterpart.

The soup can be eaten for lunch and dinner or as a snack too. I really like it blended, but feel free to keep it chunky too!

Simple 3-Day Cleanse // My New Roots

Winter Weekend Cleanse Plan

Upon rising: warm water with lemon

Breakfast: Ginger-Mint Pear Smoothie

Throughout the day: water! Aim for 1½ – 2½ liters a day (about 6-10 cups), depending on your activity level

Lunch: Cilantro Spinach Sweet Potato Soup

Snack: Ginger-Mint Pear Smoothie

Dinner: Cilantro Spinach Sweet Potato Soup

Repeat on the following day, for as many days as you like.

Things to Avoid: caffeine, sugar, alcohol, tobacco, computer time, television, stressful situations.

Things to Embrace: sleep and rest, time outdoors, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, sauna, dry skin brushing.

 

I hope you all find your own reasons for trying out this simple cleanse, and that it proves to be as helpful as it is delicious! Remember to take things slow, set realistic goals for yourself and be celebrate each small victory! I truly wish you all the best for 2015 – this year is going to be the cleanest, greenest yet.

Love and light,
Sarah B

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Check out my interview with the gorgeous McKel over at Nutrition Stripped!

Healthy Holiday Gingerbread Cookies

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Healthy Holiday Gingerbread // My New Roots

Hey guys. Remember how I like pretending that baking is easy? Well, I’ve done it again!

I actually wanted to make a gingerbread recipe last year. I even went out and bought a cute set of cookie cutters for the occasion as soon as they appeared in the stores. Let me just preface this by saying, this was at the very end of my pregnancy and pre-baby. Bahahaaa! How I thought that I would have time, energy, or sanity after giving birth to make cookies is beyond me, but I can at least laugh at my extraordinary naiveté.

So, fast-forward to the present moment: my mental wherewithal mostly in tact after the first 12 months of motherhood, and the desire to be involved in some kind of holiday tradition tugging at my heart strings. I was actually so excited to make gingerbread, once and for all, and blog about how easy it was.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will recall a certain Michelin-man-shaped gingerbread puddle that I posted last week. Yea. Like I said, I forgot that baking is not easy when you’re silly enough to invent recipes of which you have zero experience, under crushing time pressure. Okay, well, no big deal. Roll up my sleeves and start again, right? To rectify the poofing, I decided to eliminate the baking soda, baking powder and all liquid. Genius! Instead of a puffed up puddle, the cookies were rock hard and greasy.
Gingerbread: 2, Sarah B: 0.

At this point, in a frustrated frenzy, my husband chimed in for the pep talk. “Hun, you know that this happens every time you bake. It’s science! And you’re bad at science (I’m paraphrasing). Just give it one more try and I bet you’ll nail it, because in the end you always do” (he forgot about the carrot cake debacle, bless his heart). So this morning began in the kitchen, sleeves rolled up, and ready to face this worthy opponent with a veritable village of gingerbread casualties in my wake.
Except this time, I won.

Healthy Holiday Gingerbread // My New Roots

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Molasses
Isn’t it ironic that the waste product of manufacturing white sugar, is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic syrup? I’m talking about molasses. That gooey, rich, unmistakably black-brown nectar with a rather divisive flavour.

There are a few varieties of molasses, but to understand how they vary, let’s first look at how molasses is made.

Molasses is created from either sugarcane or sugar beets (but because the molasses made from beets can be quite bitter, sugarcane molasses is the most common variety available for human consumption). These plants are harvested, and then cut, crushed, and mashed so that the juice is extracted. “Fancy Molasses” is the first product to be made, but is in fact the only type of molasses that is not a by-product of sugar processing, but instead a direct product from sugar cane. This type is super sweet and is most commonly enjoyed as the syrup straight on pancakes or waffles, and as an ingredient in baked goods.

Varieties of Molasses
The real deal molasses comes from boiling the juice of sugar cane down to crystallize the sugars, producing a concentrate, the first of which is called First Molasses, First Strike Molasses, Barbados Molasses, Light Molasses, Mild Molasses, or Sweet Molasses. This comes from the first boiling of the sugar. It is light in colour and mild in flavour. Some people also enjoy this type directly on their food, like fancy molasses. It is about 65% sucrose.

Next up is Second Molasses, Second Strike Molasses, Dark Molasses, or Full Molasses. As you may have guessed, this is made from the second boiling of the extracted cane juice, a process that extracts even more sugar, producing a darker, thicker syrup typically used as a cooking ingredient in sauces, marinades and baked beans. It is about 60% sucrose.

Blackstrap molasses is likely the one all you health foodies out there know and love. This type of molasses is made by boiling the cane syrup a third time, which extracts even more sugar and concentrates the flavour. By this point, the sucrose content is so low (about 55%) that the syrup no longer tastes sweet, but slightly bitter. The colour is nearly black, and the consistency is very thick and viscous. Blackstrap molasses is used in baking, sauces, stews and even as a food supplement due to its high nutrient content.

Nutritious and Delicious
Blackstrap molasses is highly concentrated in essential minerals, such as iron, calcium, selenium, manganese, potassium, copper, and zinc. As I mentioned above, this type of molasses is sometimes used as a dietary supplement or tonic. One tablespoon stirred into warm water is a food-based way to boost mineral levels, especially iron, as this small amount contains a whopping 20% of your RDI. You can also enjoy it in foods such as smoothies, tea, warm cereal, or dressings, sauces and stews. Remember to eat iron-rich foods with vitamin C to enhance its absorption. I like to use a little lemon juice.

Blackstrap molasses is one of the few sweeteners that is low on the glycemic scale with an index classification of 55. This means that it metabolizes slowly in a controlled way, demands less insulin production and won’t cause a spike in blood glucose levels. All in all, blackstrap molasses is a fantastic, healthy sweetener to which I enthusiastically give a thumbs up!

Buying and Storing
When purchasing molasses, read the label to ensure that what you are buying is 100% pure molasses (some companies will cut blackstrap molasses with corn syrup to make it sweeter) and that it is “unsulfured”. Sulfur dioxide can be added to all grades of molasses to help preserve it, as it prevents the growth of bacteria and mould. From a health perspective, sulfur can cause reactions in sensitive people (you can read more about that here). Sulfur dioxide also has a very bitter flavour, and can drastically alter the flavour of the dish you are making. Look for organic molasses whenever possible too.

Store unopened molasses in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Opened containers must be stored in the fridge and will last for up to six months.

Healthy Holiday Gingerbread // My New Roots

So this gingerbread, this is really it. It’s deeply spiced, perfectly balanced in sweet and salt, and super addictive. I love the special flavour and richness that molasses brings to the cookies as well. It’s a must-have component of this recipe for sure, and should not be substituted with other sweeteners due to its properties in the baking itself. The cookies are totally vegan (!!!), made with whole spelt flour and natural sweeteners. But the coolest part of this recipe? If you like a chewy cookies, bake them for 7 minutes, and if you like a crispier version, bake it for 10. Science! I tried two versions with this batch of cookies, and although I prefer the chewy ones, my husband really likes the crunch of the longer-baked variety.

I am really, really proud of my gingerbread, especially after persevering through three rounds of total uncertainty and insanity. Although the first two recipes, according to some were “just fine”, I couldn’t post a recipe here on My New Roots that is just fine. Never! I want everything I put out into the world to be my best, and this, I am so pleased to say, (finally) qualifies. Whew.

Healthy Holiday Gingerbread // My New Roots
As I was very anxiously waiting for this last trial to bake, I whipped up a Cashew-Cacao Butter Icing to decorate the little guys with (I got it on the first try too!). As I was making it however, I used honey to sweeten it, and then promptly delivered myself a swift forehead slap realizing that the rest of the cookie recipe was vegan! Argh. So, if you don’t want to use honey to sweeten this icing, I am confident that maple syrup or coconut nectar would work in its place. I haven’t tried making this recipe in a regular blender, only a Vitamix, so I know that the icing consistency may be a little grainy if you don’t use a high-powered machine.

Healthy Holiday Gingerbread // My New Roots

For those of you living in Copenhagen, I’ve only found one shop that carries molasses and it’s the Super Brugsen on Nørrebrogade. I know at least one of you is going to ask!

And finally, I want to say a HUGE Happy Holidays to everyone out there. I hope that your days are filled with wonder and delight, family and friends, and above all, delicious food. I can’t help myself – it’s what I live for!

All love and sparkling winter holidays,
Sarah B.

Show me your gingerbread on Instagram: #MNRgingerbread