I am glad to announce to the world that I am still alive. I’d love to catch you up on what’s been going on in my life but I’m afraid that’s going to have to wait for the next Actuellement post. You can imagine that after close to 3 months of inactivity, I’m a bit rusty to this blogging thing. My sincerest apologies if any of my followers feel as though I have forsaken you, leave me a comment and let’s catch up!
I thought I would ease back into the swing of things with this simple recipe for Strawberry Chia Seed Jam. 5 ingredients. 10 minutes of your time. Vegan? Yes. Paleo? Yes. Delicious? OH YEAH. This jam is a perfect accompaniment for any cheeseboard, the sweetness of the jam works wonderfully for a creamy cheese such as brie (which I used in these photos) or cream cheese. This is so much better than anything you would find on any supermarket shelf that you can guarantee is full of sugar and preservatives and all sorts of other nasty things. As a bonus, you can gloat to all your friends at the next wine and cheese gathering that you tackled this all on your own. I’ll raise my glass to that.
Strawberry Chia Seed Jam
1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chia seeds
a pinch of salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, honey and lemon juice. Cookover medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes, the honey should have completely blended with the strawberry juices. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender* to purée the strawberry mixture until it reaches your desired consistency. Stir in the chia seeds and salt and transfer the jam to a glass jar.
Refrigerate for at least an hour.Serve on toast, on crackers with a side of brie or with your yogurt and granola at breakfast.
*If you like a chunkier jam with fruit pieces, there’s no need to use a blender. If you don’t own a blender, you can also use a potato masher to crush the strawberry pieces.
Confession Time: I have loathed peanut butter since I was 7 years old.
Before I was 7, I loved peanut butter and put it on virtually everything I ate. From crackers to sandwiches to rice (it’s a Zimbabwean delicacy along with kale and peanut butter) I could not get enough of the stuff. Until one unfortunate occasion when my peanut butter addiction punished me with an upset stomach. From that day onward, peanut butter was my mortal enemy. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups stopped being enjoyable, my PB & J sandwiches were PB deficient and Heaven knows what I would do when presented with a stir fry drizzled with peanut sauce.
I was perfectly happy to condemn myself to a nut butter-less life until I came across the most wonderful granola bars ever. And the worst part is: they were peanut butter flavoured. You can only imagine how confused my taste buds were. All the work I had put into disliking peanut butter in the previous 10 years had gone to waste. Feeling guilty, I decided to give it another chance.
And that opportunity led itself to where we are today, with these wonder-bars. With an apricot jam filling, every bite is jam-packed (haha) with that sweet fruity flavour and you don’t have to feel guilty because there is NO SUGAR in these bars. Bonus: they’re also paleo, vegan and full of everything that could ever be good for you on Planet Earth. We got almonds, we got chia seeds, we got oats, these bars will make your tummy so happy. The bars are the perfect balance of chewy and crunchy, so your teeth won’t break when you bite into them, but your jaw won’t get tired from chewing them. Have I got your attention yet?
Apricot Almond Chia Granola Bars with Yogurt Drizzle makes 8 bars
2 cups oats
1 cup almonds, sliced or whole is fine, you could use pecans if desired
1 cup dried apricots, any other kind of dried fruit is okay
¼ cup chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup apricot jam (optional)
Greek Yogurt Drizzle:
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp honey
For the granola bars:
- Grease an 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the granola bars and stir until well combined. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat together the peanut butter and honey, stirring often until blended together. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla essence. Pour the peanut butter and honey mixture into the dry oat mixture and mix well until fully coated. You’re welcome to use your hands to make sure to really incorporate the wet ingredients.
- Press half of the granola bar mixture into the greased baking pan. Make sure that the base is fully covered. Press down to make sure you have an even layer. Microwave the apricot jam on high for 30 seconds to make sure it’s pourable. Pour the hot jam over the first layer of the granola bars and use a butter knife to make sure it’s spread evenly. Cover with the remaining granola bar mixture and press down to make sure you have an even layer. Freeze for 2 hours, then slice into 8 bars and return to freezer.
For the Greek Yogurt Drizzle:
- In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Greek Yogurt Drizzle and mix until combined. After cutting the bars, drizzle the drizzle (fo’ shizzle) over the bars and freeze for 30 minutes or until set. If desired, you could dip the bars into the drizzle and let set, drizzle side up. Store these bars in the refrigerator for up to a month.
This recipe was adapted from these Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Granola Bars by Half Baked Harvest.
If you’ve read the 3rd post ever put up on this blog then you’ll know how obsessed I am with oats. I go CRAZY for them. Baked, stovetop, overnight, I am not picky. You can catch me eating oats on any given day of the year, I will never get tired of them.
I uploaded a Q & A video on my YouTube this week, and one of the questions I was asked was what my go-to school breakfast was. *Drum roll please* it’s these oats! These are easily prepared on a Sunday morning and portioned out for the rest of the week on Monday morning. Done. You don’t have to worry about breakfast for the rest of the week! The nutritional value of this breakfast is insane, and it will leave you feeling energised and ready to take on the week with a smile on your face. Pair this with my recipe for Salted Caramel Iced Coffee and you will have a winning breakfast on your hands.
Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats makes 4 servings
2 cups of steel cut oats
½ cup chia seeds
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 cup milk of your choice: full fat, almond or coconut work perfectly
¼ cup honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup chopped strawberries plus 2 tbsp of a milk of your choice
- Add all the ingredients except the strawberries to a large bowl and stir well to incorporate. Leave in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight
- Add the strawberries to a food processor with the milk and pulse until completely puréed. Stir the puréed strawberries into the oats and mix well. Portion 4 servings into different jars/lunchboxes. Can serve immediately or keep sealed in the fridge for a week at the most. Serve with extra Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts or chia seeds.