Thursday, 22 November 2012

Chai Soaked Oats

I'm not much of a morning person really and despite knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I'm not that good at breakfast either.  There are not many foods that I take pleasure in preparing and eating first thing in the morning during the usual and predictable last minute rush to leave for work.  So how about a 'here's something I prepared earlier' tasty and healthy breakfast solution plucked out of the fridge ready to leave with you to work in a handy reusable jar.  After all, homemade lunches made in jars are 'trending' at the moment (whatever 'trending' means exactly) so why not breakfast?  Chai soaked oats don't even require cooking, just 5 spare minutes the evening before.  You could even make a couple or more for subsequent mornings at the same time.

Chai Soaked Oats
1 cup of oats
1 cup of milk of choice (soya, rice, hemp or nut)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bit of grated nutmeg (to taste)
Bit less black pepper
1/2 tsp of nice vanilla paste or extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or any other kind of syrupy stuff you like)
Anything else you fancy like for instance I like to put in a handful of sultanas and sometimes fresh fruit for the top.

Mix it all together in the jar and leave in the fridge overnight or until use (will keep for a few days).

These cool oats might not be warming in the heat sense but their chai spicy sweetness is more than enough to kick start your day and provide the fuel your body needs.  It also packs a punch nutritionally.  Oats are a great source of dietary fibre but they have also been proven to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system and stabilise blood sugar levels. 

You may not have heard of chia seeds (seen in photo in the top right).  They are a relatively new superfood on the market.  Chia (Salvia Hispanica) is a species of flowering plant in one of the mint families and is a native to Central America.  The seeds are one of nature's highest plant-based sources of protein.  Chia has eight times more omega 3 than salmon, five times more calcium than milk, seven times more vitamin C than oranges and 3 times more iron than spinach.  Endurance runners have been known to make a home brewed 'red bull' style drink by dissolving chia seeds in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime (see Born to Run by Christopher McDougall; page 44). 

The spices in these oats do more than just pump up the taste.  Cardamom offers up potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese whilst cinnamon joins the oats with lowering cholesterol and managing blood sugar levels.  Ginger is well known for it's anti inflammatory properties and it also aids digestion.  Nutmeg too aids digestion and has been reported as having anti-bacterial properties and aiding memory. 

All good stuff basically and certainly something easy and a little bit different than the usual breakfast fare to tantalise your taste buds.

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