Category Archives: Budget Breakfasts

Homemade Nutella recipe

homemade nutella dairy free gluten free coconut oilWhat child doesn’t like Nutella? Chocolatey  nutty goodness that apparently contains 2  hazelnuts in each serving. Healthy right? Wrong. A serving of Nutella also contains palm oil (the palm oil industry are responsible for the deforestation of the orangutan’s natural habit), and as much sugar as two chocolate biscuits! Not the ideal breakfast. So, I thought I’d have a go at making  a healthier (and more frugal) version.

Melt 50g dark chocolate with 50g of butter (coconut oil would be even better if you can stretch the budget). Blend 150g of de-skinned peanuts (or any nuts would do) for about 5-10 minutes until they turn into a paste. If you want a richer flavour you could toast the nuts first. Add the nut paste to the runny chocolate mixture and taste. If you want it sweeter you could add a teaspoon of honey, agave or maple syrup. It’s certainly a hit in our household!

150g peanuts = 75p
50g dark chocolate = 15p
50g butter = 20p

Total = £1 for 250g

(Nutella costs £135 for a 200g jar)

Carrot & banana flapjacks (7p each)

Carrot and banana flapjacksI’m loving this recipe for using up two items that would’ve ended up in the food waste bin today. Firstly an overripe, slightly bruised banana and secondly, some carrot peelings from our roast over the weekend. This flapjack is also remarkably healthy as it contains no refined sugars, and plenty of simple wholegrain oats. Here goes –

Take 200g of oats and mix with 50 grams of finely chopped carrot peelings (tip – give the carrots a good scrub before peeling so they are nice and clean). In a food processor blend 1 large or 2 small ripe bananas, 2 tbsp of butter (or peanut butter works well too), and 8 dates until a smooth paste. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Line a 9 x 9 inch baking tray with parchment paper. Press down the oaty mixture into the lined tray until even and compact. Bake for 20 minutes on gas mark 5 / 190C until golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting.

Budget?
Carrot peelings = from the waste bin
Oats = 17p
Banana – 20p
Dates = 40p
2 tbsp (30g) butter = 12p

Total = 89p for 12 (7p each)

Leftover porridge oatmeal biscuits

Leftover porridge makes oatmeal biscuitsDon’t you hate it when you make something that then gets turned down by your child? This was the case this morning. Porridge was just not welcomed. I hate throwing anything away, so decided to turn this oaty mush into oatmeal biscuits, so that I could feed it back later in the day. I know, it’s sneaky but necessary when feeding a family on a budget.

Leftover porridge makes oatmeal raisin biscuitsMy recipe is not exact, but it really doesn’t need to be to create really tasty oatmeal biscuits. I had approximately 1 cup of leftover porridge, I then mixed this with 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 egg, 3 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tbsp of butter and a generous handful of raisins. The mixture was sticky but not overly wet. You could add more or less flour if needed. I then formed the dough into 8 medium sized rounds (but I could have made 12 small ones) and placed them on a tray lined with baking paper squashing them down a little to make rustic biscuit shapes. They were baked for 20-25 minutes at gas mark 5/ 190C until golden brown. They were delicious and no-one guessed they were breakfast leftovers!

Millet Nut Bars (19p a portion)

There’s have become a family favourite. They are nutty and filling, a great grab-and-go breakfast, as well as being free of refined sugars and extremely tasty. Millet as described in my last post (millet salad) is a versatile grain full of minerals and B vitamins. It’s also naturally gluten free. I had a cup of cooked millet leftover from making millet salad last week, and thought it would be good replacement for oats in a flapjack type bar. Here’s the recipe –

Millet and nut granola barWhiz 1 cup of mixed nuts in a blender until finely chopped (but not powder), add these to 1 cup of cooked millet, and 1 cup raisins and set aside.

In the blender again place 1 large (or 2 small) ripe banana, 2 tbsp of peanut butter and 5 dates. Blend together into a gooey runny mixture. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix thoroughly. Line a 9 x 9 inch baking tray with baking paper. Spread out your mixture evenly pressing with a spatula.

Place in an oven pre-heated at gas mark 4 / 175 C / 350 F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious. Allow to cool completely then cut into 12 squares and enjoy as a snack or as breakfast on the go. Healthy and scrumptious!

Budget?

1 cup (175g) of cooked millet = 15p
1 (150g) cup of nuts (we used cashews) = £1
Banana = 20p
2 tbsp (32g) peanut butter = we make our own for £1 a 250g jar = 32p
5 dates = 20p
1 cup (150g) raisins = 40p

Total = £2.27 (19p a portion)

Huevos Rancheros – another awesome brunch recipe

Huevos racheros - mexican breakfastAs I’ve mentioned before, weekend brunch is pretty important to us. It signifies a lazy morning where we don’t have to rush off to school or work. It’s a time to enjoy each others company and eat something delicious and hearty. This recipe has been a family favourite for many years. It incorporates some of my favourite flavours – spicy tomato, cool avocado and runny farm eggs (now sourced from Headington Farmers Market).

Corn tortillas are made with masa harina, finely ground cornmeal – which can be picked up from any Asian supermarket for about £1.20 a kilo. Tortillas are very quick and simple to make, and are a great accompaniment to any Mexican dish. They can also be deep fried to make tortilla chips.

Cornmeal is very high in potassium, magnesium and B6, with one corn tortilla providing about 8% of your RDA for these vitamins. Coupled with farm eggs and avocado and this becomes a very nutritious breakfast.

Here’s the recipe –

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup of corn flour and 1/2 a cup of hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn the dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Then cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high. Divide the dough into 8 equal-size balls. Using a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap. Immediately place a tortilla into a preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn the tortilla over to brown on the other side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat the process with each ball of dough. When cooked, do keep the tortillas covered with a tea towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

In the meantime, finely slice an onion and 1 clove of garlic and fry in a little olive oil until brown. Add 1 tin of tomatoes and 1 or 2 dried red chilli’s depending on how hot you like it and allow to simmer until it reduces and infuses (about 5-10 minutes), season with salt and pepper. In the last couple of minutes poach some eggs and blend an avocado. Assemble together and enjoy.

Budget?

6 eggs = £1.20
1 tin of tomatoes = 34p
Onion, chilli, garlic = 20p
Corn flour = 80p
Avocado = 44p

Total = £2.98 for 4

Tip to keep the budget low – many grocers will sell avocados cheaply when they are over ripe – which is perfect for making guacamole. Any leftover cheese that needs using up is delicious grated on top.

Budget breakfasts for the family

I was on BBC Radio Oxford yesterday talking about the importance of breakfast, and it occurred to me that you’ve probably been wondering what we’ve been eating for breakfast all week.

Porridge with nuts, seeds and appleWhen you’re on a budget, toast and cereal seem the only viable option. After all, with 20 servings in a box of Coco pops only costing £3, and a loaf of supermarket bread costing only 50p that does seem attractive.

However, it turns out that in many stores the ‘freshly baked bread’ isn’t fresh at all —it’s been cooked weeks before in a factory miles away and sent frozen to be re-heated in that in-store ‘bakery’. It therefore contains many preservatives and additives often not listed on the label to stop it from going stale – yuk! So for a healthy diet, supermarket bread is out the question I’m afraid.

When it comes to choosing cereals, even healthy products such as Bran flakes, Special K Oats & Honey or most granola’s contain over 20% sugar. Whilst Froot Loops, a cereal marketed at children, contain a whopping 41% sugar – that’s nearly 3 times more sugar than a McDonalds apple pie! The UK Food Standards Agency stipulates that a sugar content of 15% is considered high, and any food containing this amount should be limited.

Furthermore, since the 1930’s, packaged breakfast cereals have been produced via the method of extrusion; a process that ensures that a product has uniformity. For example, Cheerio’s are all the same shape and size. You can read about the process here.

Unfortunately this method uses high temperatures which damage important nutrients including raw food enzymes, vitamins and minerals. This is why cereals are often fortified with vitamins – otherwise they wouldn’t contain any at all! Furthermore, research shows that extruded grains are in fact toxic to the nervous system.

These high sugar commercially boxed cereals have been around for less than 100 years. You could call them a fad of the 20th Century! If you look at traditional breakfasts from around the world – eggs, beans and corn tortilla in Mexico, Dosa (lentils pancake) in India, and rye bread, meats and cheese in Germany you’ll get a better idea of what we should be eating.

But how can we get a healthy filling breakfast without busting the budget?

My answer is OATS! A traditional Celtic breakfast!

Melissa eating oats and strawberries for breakfastOats are a modest grain yet highly nutritious! One cup of oats will supply nearly 70% of your daily needs for manganese, a mineral that helps enzymes in bone formation. You’ll also get a generous helping of vitamin B1, magnesium and potassium.

Among all grains, oats have the highest proportion of soluble fibre. This type of fibre absorbs water and substances associated with high blood cholesterol on transit in the gut. Studies show that people with high cholesterol who eat just 3 g of soluble fibre per day can reduce their total cholesterol by 8%!

Also good for digestion, the fibre in oats sweeps like a broom through the intestines, moving food effortlessly along and helping to prevent constipation. Studies show that people with reflux and heartburn who eat a high fibre diet  experience fewer symptoms.

We love porridge in our house hold. My daughter has eaten it since she was a baby, and we have it for breakfast most days sprinkled with nuts, seeds and natural yoghurt, or Melissa’s preferred way – with peanut butter (see our frugal home-made peanut butter recipe here). If you’re not a fan of porridge you may want to try this simple flapjack recipe to receive the benefits of oats.

frugal bubble and squeak brunch recipeAt weekends, with a little more time on our hands, our preferred brunch is eggs using beautiful farm eggs from Headington Farmers Market. Our budget bubble and squeak and poached egg (recipe here) or our Mexican spicy eggs on a corn tortilla with guacamole (recipe here) are firm favourites!

If you have a favourite budget breakfast or brunch please do share the idea or recipe here. Thanks for reading!

Organic peanut butter recipe

Roasting peanuts to make organic peanut butterAs I’ve posted before, we love peanut butter! We we spread it on toast, dollop it into morning porridge, dip carrot and apple sticks into it and even eat it by the spoonful.

I usually buy Whole Earth Organic Peanut butter which is £3.19 a jar. Yet we can sometimes get through a whopping 3 jars a month! Seeing as we’re trying to feed our family for just £100 this month, I thought it high time I attempted my own. The results were outstanding! Delicious liquid gold! I have sworn never to get shop bought peanut butter every again.

Peanuts are rich in energy and contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.

They contain sufficient levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids especially oleic acid which helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” level in the blood.

The kernels are a good source of dietary protein; compose fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth and development, and the husks are a fantastic source of fibre.

Research studies have shown that peanuts contain high concentrations of resveratrol and other poly-phenolic antioxidants, thought to have a protective function against heart disease, stroke, cancers and Alzheimer’s. Roasting or boiling apparently enhances the antioxidant bio-availability in the peanuts.

Peanuts also score well on vitamin and mineral levels containing good amounts of vitamin E, B complex vitamins and folic acid. 100g of peanuts provides about 85% of RDA of niacin (B3), which contribute to brain health and blood flow to the brain. They are also are rich source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium essential for bone health.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler:

frugal organic peanut butter recipeRoast some skin on organic peanuts in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes until you see a sheen of oil appear on the dark skins. Place the nuts into a blender (I used a Kenwood) and blend for 5-10 minutes. Firstly you’ll see the peanuts blend into a crumb, then after a few more minutes the oil will start to ooze and it will become more liquid. Keep going until you have the consistency you require. I added no salt or sugar – it simply didn’t need it.

Supermarket nuts can be expensive. I buy kilo bags online from places like wholefoods online. 1 kg is about £4 and 5 kg is £17. If you’re able to buy in bulk you can save a fortune. this recipe also works well for cashew and almond nut butters – deliciously healthy.