Calories in Porridge

Calories in Porridge (made 7 ways)

Everyone says it is good for you, but how about the calories in porridge? Porridge has been our food since cavemen, and it is not going away anytime soon, but is it really a good option? Let’s take a closer look at porridge nutrition to see how many calories there are in your morning bowlful. Skip straight to the porridges to see quick calorie counts or read all about porridge first.

What is Porridge, exactly?

Boil starchy plants in water or milk so that some or all the starch breaks off into the liquid to thicken the mixture and thus make porridge. This post sticks with porridge made from oats specifically, because that’s the type we usually mean when we say “porridge”. You can use the calcount Food Search Box to find nutrition information for other types of porridge, like Congee for example.

Ancient Origins

Someone in the Middle East ate the first bowl of oatmeal porridge more than 10,000 years ago. Oats are a grass grain, like wheat, but smaller. Cultivated oats probably began as a “weed” crop in fields of wheat when humans first began farming. Thus, the humble oat is one of the first grains to be cultivated. Even before farming began, we can imagine our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors boiling up a steaming concoction of wild oat seeds which we would recognise even today as breakfast. 

Oats Ancient Grain

The Oats in Porridge

Compared to wheat, oat grains have several disadvantages. They’re smaller, less starchy, more difficult to harvest, take longer to cook, and they go bad (rancid) more easily. Perhaps that is why oats were historically used as horse fodder rather than human food in much of Europe. Scotland has always been the exception because oats grow better than wheat in the poorer soils of the Scottish Highlands. It is from Scotland that our modern concept of Porridge comes.

Manufacturers crush the oat grains (groats) under rollers, then steam them until partly cooked. This process extends their shelf-life and makes them much easier and quicker to cook. Unrolled oats (either steel-cut or whole groats), are a lot harder to cook. They’re also much rougher in texture than rolled oats. The pre-cooking process makes the porridge taste a bit nutty.

Porridge Nutrition

The nutrition value of a bowl of porridge depends mainly on what other ingredients have been added to the oats. Typically, porridge is just 15% oats by volume, so the other ingredients have a huge impact on the porridge’s nutrition. When made with water alone, porridge is 12% carbohydrate, 2% dietary fibre, 1.5% fat, and 0.3% sugar. Besides manganese (0.6mg), there are no significant quantities of vitamins and minerals in plain porridge. The biggest “special” benefit of oats porridge is that it contains beta-glucan. This is a type of plant fibre which may lower cholesterol. Oats’ relatively poor nutrition profile encourages some porridge manufacturers to fortify their product with vitamins and minerals, so always read the label before purchase and choose wisely.

Cook oats in microwave

How to Make Porridge

The simplest method to make porridge is first to empty a sachet of “instant” oats into a bowl. Next, add milk or water. Then, microwave on high for 90 seconds, stirring halfway through. The artisan way is to formulate your own unique recipe where you soak organic single-source groats in buttermilk for two days before blending in exotic spices and spring water and simmering over low heat for a couple of hours (carefully stirring and chanting Gaelic aphorisms throughout). Both methods result in a starchy, lumpy, slightly sticky porridge to which you can add sweeteners, flavours, fruit, and nuts.

The porridges featured in this post are the basic type, made with common rolled oats.

Does Porridge make you Gain Weight?

Porridge is not a low-calorie food, especially when ingredients like nuts, dried fruit, cream, butter, sugar, and coconut are added. As you can see from the list below, the non-oat ingredients in porridge quickly ratchet up the calorie count. No doubt, a “fully loaded” bowl of porridge is certainly fattening. However, oats alone are an excellent choice for breakfast, because their high-fibre content and sustained-release carbohydrates make you feel fuller for longer. Eat a warm bowl of porridge, wash it down with a mug of tea or coffee, it will sit in your belly like a concrete block for a couple of hours, during which time you will not be tempted to snack.

Calories in Porridge made with Water

Calories in Porridge made with Water

There are 68 calories in 100 grams of porridge, made with water. If we take a single serving to be 130g, then a bowl of plain unsweetened porridge made with water contains 88 calories. Very few people make and eat plain, unflavoured porridge made with water (unless there’s no other choice!), so this porridge is probably just a theoretical variant. This type of porridge looks, feels, and tastes like wallpaper paste.

Calories in Porridge made with Regular Milk

Unsweetened porridge made with regular milk has 128 calories in each 100 grams. This means that a 130g bowl of unsweetened milky porridge has 167 calories in it. Make this porridge with just two ingredients: rolled oats and regular (3.5% fat) milk in the ratio of 1:3. It is more appetising than the watery variant, but this unsweetened, unsalted milky porridge is probably still far too bland for most people’s taste.

Calories in Porridge with Milk

Calories in Porridge made with Skimmed Milk

There are 95 calories in 100 grams of porridge made with skim milk, so a 130g bowl contains 124 calories. Porridge made with skimmed milk is less of a lumpy slurry than water-only porridge, despite the lack of fat, on account of the binding properties of protein. The good thing about skimmed milk is that it contains far fewer calories than regular milk, albeit at the expense of taste. If you have not already done so, check out our post on the differences between skimmed, lite, and regular milk.

Calories in Porridge made with Reduced Fat Milk

A 130g bowl of porridge made with reduced fat milk has 140 calories in it. There are 108 calories per 100 grams in this lighter than regular milk/heavier than skimmed milk porridge option. Again, this is an “entry-level” plain and bland porridge which will flatten the bushiest of tails in the morning.

Calories in Porridge made with Soy Milk

Soy milk can have a slight beany flavour which might enhance the slight nuttiness of rolled oats. Porridge made with regular soy milk and nothing else has 112 calories per 100 grams, or 146 calories per 130g serving. Combine 1 part rolled oats to 3 parts soy milk to make an insipid soy-flavoured porridge which will not win any gastronomic awards.

Calories in Porridge made with Milk and Water

There are 96 calories in 100 grams of porridge, prepared with regular milk and water. The milk and water are combined in equal parts. A 130g bowl of this porridge contains 125 calories, which is about the same as porridge made with skim milk. If you cannot decide if it is better to make porridge with water or milk, this could be the porridge for you.

Calories in Porridge with Honey

Calories in Porridge made with Honey or Sugar

Most people make their porridge with milk and sweeten it with sugar or honey, so this is probably the porridge which applies to you. A 130g serving of sweetened porridge contains 172 calories, because there are 132 calories in each 100 grams. The calorie difference between sweetened and unsweetened porridge made with regular milk is just 4 calories per 100g. The taste difference is immeasurable, because porridge is bland, and sugar/honey tastes good. So go ahead, add a squirt of honey or syrup or a level spoon of sugar to your bowl!

Calcount Almond Milk

2 Ways to make your own Almond Milk

Even if you have never tried it before, you have surely seen almond milk in your local supermarket, but what exactly is almond milk? The simple answer is that it is a plant milk made from almonds. It is usually marketed to people who are lactose intolerant or vegan, because it does not contain lactose or animal products.

How does it taste?

In its “pure” form, it has a creamy texture and full-on nutty flavour. It tastes like what it is: really finely crushed almonds mixed with water. The beauty of really finely crushed almonds is that they form super-fine powdery particles which absorb lots of water and air. This makes for a very smooth, creamy mouth-feel (in terms of texture, it is like full-cream dairy milk) and a rich, almond flavour.

Of course, if you buy the almond milk from the supermarket anything goes. Depending on the brand, you could get something that tastes very different. Since the product is usually marketed as a cow-milk or soy milk alternative, manufacturers try to get their product to taste like… cow milk and soy milk. This means that flavourings, emulsifiers, acidifiers, preservatives, sweeteners and fillers are added.

Nutrition

When people think about almond milk nutrition, they usually try to put it in perspective by comparing it to cow’s milk or soy milk. We think that this is a bit like comparing apples with oranges, because the comparison is useful only if you plan to substitute on for another. It is quite possible (even preferable) to simply add almond milk to your balanced diet, rather than making a straight swap.

That said, how does it compare to dairy and soy? Generally speaking, it is less nutritious. Almond milk contains significantly less protein, fats, carbohydrates and most micronutrients than either. On the plus side:

Unsweetened almond milk contains about half the calories of soy milk and about a quarter of the calories of full-cream milk! It also has almost double the calcium of cow’s milk!

Make your Own

Making your own almond milk is easy. There are two main ways to do it. One way is easy and the other way is easier. First, the easy way:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • Small pinch fine salt

Directions:

  1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with a couple centimeters of water. Soak the almonds in water overnight (about 8 to 10 hours). For a quick-soak method, soak the almonds in boiled water for 1 hour. Rinse and drain well.
  2. Place drained almonds into a blender along with the water.
  3. Blend on the highest speed for 1 minute.
  4. Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to release the milk.
  5. Rinse out blender and pour the milk back in. Whisk in the salt.
  6. Using a funnel, pour into a large glass jar and secure lid. Store in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Shake before drinking.

Or, you can use this easier method:

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon almond butter
  • 3 cup water

Directions

  1. Place ingredients in the blender.
  2. Blend until fully mixed.

That really is all there is to it!

Of course, you can add your own flavourings like sugar, honey, cinnamon, cocoa or vanilla to either recipe. Try adding this milk to your breakfast cereal, or heating it for a relaxing evening beverage.

Calorie Counter Australia Burger Patty

Make Your Own Hamburger Patty

Change is the only constant, food trends happen, but the hamburger abides. From the first time that a person flattened a meatball and put it in between two pieces of bread, the hamburger has satisfied.

Quick to cook and fast to eat, the hamburger is easily portable and energy dense. It delivers a blast of pure macro-nutrient goodness with each bite. Protein, carbs, fats, boom!

Hamburger is good food when it is made with wholesome ingredients and not eaten to excess. Good, simple meat with a little salt and flavoursome herbs made into a sensible meal portion just makes sense.

Hamburger is not good food when it is made with bad ingredients and eaten in large, unnecessary quantities. Preservatives, too much sodium, too much fat, colourings, flavourings, stabilisers, modifiers and ammonium-washed over-processed meat are examples of bad ingredients.

Maybe because it is so easy and convenient to get a burger from a fast-food restaurant, most people do not make their own burgers at home. Even when we do make our own burgers, we usually buy pre-made patties from the supermarket and hope that the ingredients inside the perfectly round, plastically packed, uniformly thin patties are tasty and non-bad.

Why not take the hope and regret out of your burger-making and burger-eating experience? Go with a sure-thing by making your own patties from scratch. Here’s how to make six perfect hamburger patties:

Ingredients:

  • 450g beef mincemeat. Choose mincemeat that is about 85% red and 15% white. The white part is fat and you really do want enough of it to give your burgers the juice that keeps the punters coming back. Too much though and your patties will shrink too much whilst cooking and they will be greasy. Too little and you will have dry burgers which will need more sauce than you should eat in one meal.
  • One egg yolk. Free range eggs taste better.
  • Half an onion. Diced small, unless you like to know that you are crunching into onion when you bite down.
  • Half a cup of fresh herbs. Chop them fine or chop them coarse, your call.
  • Salt and Pepper. Use as little salt as you can get away with, because if you add anything else to your burger besides bun and patty, chances are that there will be lots of other sodium in your meal.

These are simple ingredients because burger patties just taste better when they are simple. Let your condiments and other burger components do any flavour acrobatics that you might want, but keep the patty simple juicy meat.

 

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients. For best results, use your bare, cold hands and really get into it. For some reason, the burgers will taste better if you spend some time to mix everything at a granular level. Form into 6 patties.
  2. Cover the patties and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to cool. This chilling effect makes the patties easier to work with when you cook.
  3. Preheat your pan or barbecue or whatever you are going to use to cook your patties. Use high heat but don’t let your oil smoke.
  4. Cook the patties for 5 minutes per side on the hot grill, or until well done. Serve on buns with your favourite condiments.

 Check our database to see nutrition information for home-made burgers compared to the ones from fast-food restaurants.

 

 

calcount brownie

191 Calories per Serve: Tasty, Nutritious Fig Brownies

This is a recipe for Brownies with an unusual ingredient: Figs. Moist, chewy and so easy, these Fig Brownies are made with rich dark chocolate, crunchy toasted walnuts and sweet, delicious, nutritious dried figs. Taste and health have joined together with simple directions to deliver brownies fit for every day or special occasions.

Fossilised figs have been found in the ruins of ancient villages dating back 11,000 years, proving that figs are one of the first fruits to be grown and nurtured by humans. Whilst you can find some locally grown figs on sale, most figs sold in Australia are imported from the Middle East and the USA.

Amber-colored golden figs and dark purple Mission figs star as the special secret ingredients that make these brownies so unique and so delicious. The tiny crunchy seeds and sweet, chewy flavor of the figs complement the toasted walnuts and smooth dark chocolate. Health-conscious cooks are excited to learn that dark chocolate contributes health-promoting flavonol antioxidants; dried figs offer a unique array of essential vitamins and minerals and an excellent amount of dietary fiber; and walnuts deliver essential omega-3 fatty acids and “good” monounsaturated fats.

Figs are also great for snacking because they are so portable and convenient, along with being a nutrient-dense fruit. Three to four figs provide 6 percent daily value (DV) iron, 6 percent DV calcium, 6 percent DV magnesium, 6 percent DV vitamin B6 and 8 percent DV copper.

Fig Brownies

3 large eggs

11/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

30g unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup standard flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup stemmed and chopped dried figs

1/3 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 180°. Coat a square baking tray with nonstick spray. In medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with wire whisk. Add sugar and whisk until well-blended. Whisk in oil and vanilla. Melt chocolate in small bowl in microwave oven on 50 percent power for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute. Whisk chocolate into egg mixture. In small bowl, stir together flour, cocoa and salt. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture, blending until smooth; batter will be stiff. Stir in figs and walnuts. Spread batter in baking tray. Bake for 35 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 16 brownies.

Nutrients per serving (16): Calories 191; Protein 3g; Total Fat 7g; Carbohydrate 29g; Cholesterol 40mg; Dietary Fiber 2g; Sodium 65mg.

Figs, chocolate and walnuts–nutrition and taste come together in one delicious brownie. Enjoy!

Winter Roast Chicken Recipe

Winter is the perfect season for glorious, soul-warming, tummy stuffing, melt-in-the-mouth roast chicken. Nothing quite says welcome home on a cold evening like the smell of a fresh chicken in the oven, and we’re not talking about the machine-basted, plastic-infused rotisserie chickens you pick up at the supermarket!
Roast chicken is the ancient family-classic centrepiece of millions of Sunday lunches and week-day dinners up and down the country. You could probably find a thousand variations on the recipe using all manner of fancy ingredients, but in our humble opinion, when it comes to warming the cockles of a family’s heart, nothing comes close to the simplest traditional stuffed bird. This is a quick and straightforward recipe for roast chicken which anyone can make. When gravy is added, it contains 220 calories per 100g.
Ingredients:
1 chicken, preferably free-range, about 1.8 kg
3 Tablespoons oil
60g Butter
For the Stuffing:
2 Cups Soft Breadcrumbs
1 Shallot or small Onion, chopped
60 g Butter
2 Tablespoons of chopped Celery
1 Tablespoon of chopped Walnuts
4 Tablespoons of chopped Bacon
1 small Egg, beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chicken preparation:
Pre-heat the oven on to 190°C, then wash and pat-dry the chicken. Mix the oil and butter together, then rub the mixture onto the skin of the chicken. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
Stuffing:
Melt the butter in a pan, then add the shallot/onion and bacon to fry until soft. Once soft, remove and place in a small bowl and mix with the rest of the stuffing ingredients.
Add enough of the beaten egg to just bind the mixture together (do not use too much egg or your stuffing will look something like an omelette!). Stuff the body cavity with the stuffing mixture. This means, push it in deep and tight so that it is really squeezed in there!
Roasting:
Place the stuffed chicken on a roasting pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for about an hour and a half, or until the juices run clear when the bird is pierced with a skewer. Occasionally baste with seasoned oil whilst it is roasting, if it looks as though it is getting a bit dry. When you open the oven to check and baste, a wall of delicious aroma will rush into the kitchen, filling your house with warmth and cheer.
Serve with roast potatoes and vegetables of your choice.

Winter Minestrone Soup Recipe

What is it about soup that makes it so well-suited to winter? We have two theories about why it is difficult to go past a good soup this season:

1.    Soup has a uniformly warm temperature, unlike, say fish and chips. This means that every part of your mouth and stomach that it touches will feel warm and comfortable when you eat it.

2.    Most people have fond childhood memories of Mum serving a steaming bowl or mug of soup on a cold winter’s day. These warm and fuzzy memories are re-kindled every time we breathe in the aroma of freshly-made soup, especially when a chill is in the air.

Soup for the Ages

Our favourite winter warmer is traditional Minestrone Soup, made with fresh ingredients and eaten on the same day it is made. The name “Minestrone” is Old Italian meaning “that which is served”. The actual origin of Minestrone Soup is lost in time, but some historians trace it to the people who lived in the region of modern-day Italy even before the Roman Republic was established. The recipe changed constantly as new vegetables and meats were introduced, most notably tomatoes in the 16th century. Just about the only thing that remained constant through the thousands of years that people made the soup was its name!

Even today, there is no clear agreement as to what exactly should be used to make Minestrone Soup, or how to cook it. You will find people who swear that it should not contain any meat, and others who insist that it is not Minestrone if you don’t see chunks of beef on your spoon. And let’s not even get started on the beans…

These days, people seem to agree that Minestrone is a thick, chunky vegetable soup which has been richly-flavoured with tomatoes. It is usually served in hearty portions intended as a meal on its own, often complemented with fresh bread or grated cheese. Our recipe is one of the more traditional variations made in modern-day Rome, it serves 8 hungry people and contains 53 calories per 100g.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
⅔ cup diced onion
½ cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced leek, white & light green parts only
1½ cup diced carrots
1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup chopped baby marrow or zucchini
⅔ cup sliced red capsicum
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 can whole tomatoes
½ cup small pasta, e.g. macaroni
4 – 5 cups chicken stock
1 can cannellini or butter beans
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1 cup spinach, chopped

How to cook:

Using a large pot, combine the olive oil, onion, celery, leek, carrots and cabbage. Cook for 15 minutes over medium low heat, occasionally stirring the vegetables.

Add the rest of the ingredients (except the spinach and pasta) and 4 cups of stock. Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste and add more salt if desired.  Add the spinach and pasta and cook for another 10 minutes. Check seasoning again. If too thick, add more chicken stock.

Congratulations, you have just made Minestrone Soup! Think about all of the millions of people over the ages who have sat down to enjoy the meal you are about to serve, and take your place in soup history.

Sardine Sangers with a Smile

Dennis remembers sardines from his childhood. “We would get home from school and Mum would serve a pile of sandwiches on a plate with hot chocolate. There were always two sardine sandwiches in the pile, the way Mum always made them mashed with chopped up raw onion and butter on the bread. My brother and I always left them for last in the vain hope that Mum would relent and let us get away with not eating them.” Dennis did not like sardines when he was a boy, but he cannot get enough of them as a man. We have known Dennis for years and when he found out that we write about food he had to tell us all about his favourite fish, so we sat down with him over a coffee and sardines on toast to talk about why everyone should tuck into these small oily fish at least once per fortnight.
Baleful stares
There is something about a can of sardines that many people find slightly distasteful. Maybe it is the way they are packed in there with glistening scales and misshapen bodies squished into triangular prisms. Sometimes the heads are left on, so you get to feel a bit guilty as you feel their glassy stares. Often, they are not gutted so you get to eat the bones, skin, organs, brain and fins. Some people find the taste overpoweringly distinct so it is difficult to add them to anything other than bland familiarity like bread, pasta and rice. “But here’s the thing”, says Dennis, “Gram for gram they are probably the most nutritious foods on the planet!”.
Napoleon canned them first
The name “Sardine” is actually misleading because there is no single species of fish officially called by that name. Any small, oily fish in the herring family (there are over 200 species of fish in the herring family) are called sardines and marketed as such. When these same fish get a bit bigger they are called “Pilchards” and marketed as such. To make matters more confusing, pilchards are known as sardines in some countries, and vice-versa in others! Whatever you call them, people have been eating them for as long as they have caught fish from the sea. They are eaten fresh but historically most people ate them salted, smoked, or pickled because they preserve well due to their small size. And then along came Napoleon whose government offered a prize to anyone who could find a way to preserve large amounts of food for his army to march with. A Frenchman named Nicolas Appert rose to the challenge and canned sardines became a thing and the rest is history.
Dense nutrition in every bite
Sardines have come to prominence recently because they are the darling of the Paleo Diet community. It is difficult to think of any other food available from your local supermarket which contains almost the whole animal, tail-to-snout. Opened and upturned on a board, the contents of the can would be something a cave-man would lick his fingers for. “This is what I didn’t know as a child crunching down Mum’s onion and sardine sangers: they pack a lot of hard-to-get nutrients and a little bit of everything else into a small package”, says Dennis. “Let’s run down the list:”
  1. Protein: sardines are a potent source of easily absorbed protein. Protein is an essential macro-nutrient and in sardines it comes with lashings of healthy fats. The combination works to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood, so reducing blood sugar spikes and troughs.
  2. Fatty acids: the oiliness of sardines is a clue to possibly their best nutritional attribute. They are incredibly good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA which work in the body to reduce inflammation everywhere. These oils break down bad cholesterol and arterial plaque, so helping to control blood pressure and prevent heart disease. It does not stop there because omega-3 fats also help by slowing down the age-related degeneration of brain and eye tissue. But wait there’s more! Fish oil from sardines has also been found to promote a growth in the numbers of B cells, which are a type of white blood cell.
  3. Essential vitamins: the list of micro-nutrients found in sardines goes on and on, but the stand-out stars are B12 and D. Several studies show that Australians are often deficient in both of these important vitamins, even though vitamin D is made by our own bodies through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is needed for a variety of body functions including the maintenance and growth of bones and teeth. B12 is essential for proper nerve and brain function. A regular can of sardines contains enough B12 to meet three times the daily requirement for adults.
  4. Essential minerals: Sardines are usually eaten whole, bones and all, so you get a wealth of different minerals, including calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium along with the protein and oil. A can of sardines contains about 35% of the calcium adults need on a daily basis, making them a go-to food resource for anyone concerned about avoiding osteoporosis.
Safe and sustainable
Many people have concerns about eating sea fish, because they tend to accumulate pollutants such as lead, mercury, and other heavy metals found in the oceans. Others shy away from them because of environmental concerns because some species are being over-fished to the detriment of global ecosystems. The good news is that sardines, being near the top of food chains, do not accumulate significant amounts of heavy metals in their bodies. “You are much more likely to find mercury in large predator fish like tuna, because they eat lots of small fish and live for much longer…” says Dennis. Sardines, with a natural maximum lifespan estimated at just 4 years live fast and die young. From a fisheries sustainability perspective, sardines are generally classed as being one of the least threatened species due to their rapid reproduction cycles and vast global spread.
Dennis’s Mum’s Sardine Sangers
So Dennis gave us his mum’s simple recipe (299 calories per serve):
Ingredients:
One small can of Whole Sardines in oil (105g)
2 slices of Whole-wheat Bread
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
Thin spread of spreadable butter
Lemon juice to taste
Directions:
Spread butter on bread. In a small bowl, mash sardines with onions and lemon juice. Scoop sardine mash onto one slice of buttered bread, cover with other slice. Serve with a smile.

3 Unexpected Muffin Recipes

Flavour to the rescue! Skip the blueberries and choc chips this weekend and take a walk on the wild side with these unusual muffin recipes. We scoured old family and friend recipes to come up with these artisan muffins which are certain to get your mob talking and munching. The trick with getting them to try some is to not tell them what is in them until after. Get out your muffin trays and give them a go!
1. Tawny Muffins – 384 calories per 100g, 12 muffins
There is nothing quite like settling down to enjoy a coffee with a Tawny Muffin. The strong flavours might not be for everyone but if you like bold sticky richness you will love these digestive treats for grown-ups.
Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/3 cup black coffee
1/3 cup Tawny Port
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ cup bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup chopped pecan nuts
Directions:
Lightly oil a muffin tray and pre-heat the oven to 190C. Put the first six ingredients into a bowl and mix well, then add the remaining ingredients until just mixed. Distribute the mixture for 12 muffins in the tray and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with a hot drink or a glass of tannin-rich wine.
2. Rice Carrot Muffins – 297 calories per 100g, 12 muffins
The flavours and textures of these sesame, carroty, ricey muffins will keep them coming back for more. Don’t expect a savoury muffin, but they are not sweet.
Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
½ cup browned sesame seeds
½ cup cooked rice
1 cup grated carrot
1 ½ cup flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
Directions:
Lightly oil a muffin tray and pre-heat the oven to 200C. Put the first six ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until they are just mixed. Distribute the mixture into the tray and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve when still warm (not hot!) for max flavour.
3. Sausage Corn Muffins – 316 calories per 100g, 15 muffins
Feel outdoorsy with these filling, flavoursome treats, great for lunchboxes.
Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup low-fat milk
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
15 cocktail franks
Directions:
Lightly oil a muffin tray and pre-heat the oven to 200C. Put the first four ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients except the sausages and blend until just mixed. Distribute the mixture to make 15 muffins and put a sausage into the middle of each one. The mixture should be firm enough to hold the sausage upright. Bake for 15-20 minutes. These taste good when cool or at room temperature.
Try one of these recipes to go back to a time when muffins were not cupcakes. When muffins had roughage and wholesome textures. If you are not quite up to baking this weekend but you know someone who is, why not share these recipes on Facebook? Just click the button below to post it on your page!

5 Healthy Snack Ideas

Snacks. For some, just hearing the word brings an emptiness to the stomach and water to the mouth. For others, the word means joy and guilt and yum and regret. Snacks are special because they are just for you, unless you want to share, and when you do it is meaningful and kind of intimate. They are also usually small and sweet, or crunchy and salty, small and crunchy or soft and moist. Small so that you can hold one in your fingers and put it in your mouth, the way your ancient ancestors ate berries and beetles when they went out walking.
Okay, so if we are going to eat snacks, let’s make sure that they are nutritious and satisfyingly small, sweet or salty. Here are ten good options:
  1. Pistachios in their shells: Go sparingly with these because they are calorie dense! With 607 calories per 100g, they will quickly tip you over your daily limit if you regularly eat more than a handful at a time. That noted, pistachios are good for you, with lots of vitamin B, protein, monounsaturated fats and vegetable fibre. We said to keep them in-shell until you eat them because it takes work to open them. When you open one, then chew it as you open another, you are giving your stomach time to send the right signals to your brain. You also get the visual cue of seeing a pile of cute empty shells as you work through your handful. You will eat fewer of them and feel more satisfied, and the shells make excellent raw material for your compost heap.
  2. Dark chocolate: The definition of dark chocolate is that it must contain at least 60% of pure cocoa. You have probably tried it once or twice and been put off by the bitterness. Give it another go; it usually takes a few attempts to enjoy it before you acquire the taste. If you do take the time and “effort” to learn about the nuanced flavour notes (connoisseurs use words like “woody” and “fruity” and “apricots and butter”), you will open yourself up to the benefits of polyphenol antioxidants which may have a significant positive impact on your metabolism.
  3. Frozen Greek yoghurt: Buy a tub of Greek Yoghurt, spoon a small bowl out then blend the rest with a hand-held blender until it looks well aerated. Now put the fluffy blended yoghurt in the freezer. Eat some when you want something cold, knowing that you are tucking into a frosty treat which packs up to twice as much protein as the average ice-cream. Most of the probiotic bacteria do not survive the freezing process so don’t expect the frozen yoghurt to keep you regular.
  4. Single-serve tin of salmon: Salmon is a wonderfully nutritious “superfood” which makes an excellent afternoon snack. You can get the tiny single-serve tin which opens with a tug to reveal something ready to spread onto one or two rice crackers. A few salty crunchy bites later, you will have added Omega-3 fats, zinc, iodine, protein and a whole lot of satisfaction to your diet!
  5. Popcorn!: Popcorn is a whole grain which packs a big nutritious punch with each fluffy, crunchy kernel. 100g of popcorn contains 51% of all the fibre you need in your day, and comes loaded with good amounts of Thiamine, Folate, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Manganese, Magnesium. Phosphorous and Zinc. Like dark chocolate, it also contains large amounts of polyphenolic compounds which eliminate free radicals from the body. Perhaps best of all, popcorn is a high volume, low weight snack. That means you do a whole lot of eating for a small amount of food. Eating a bag of popcorn will take enough time for your stomach to send satisfaction signals to your brain, which makes it hard to overeat. But stay away from those microwavable popcorn bags that come pre-flavoured with all sorts of nasty preservatives and artificial colours. Read the package, it should say “Whole corn kernels” and nothing else!
Hopefully, the above list contains one or two things that you might not have considered for your snacking regimen. Stay away from confectionery bars, doughnuts, and re-formed potato chips, there are many healthier alternatives!

4 Unusually Yummy, Unexpectedly Easy Breakfasts

People eat breakfast; or they skip breakfast; or they have a Breakfast with a capital “B”. A rushed slice of Vegemite toast and milky, spilly, coffee; nothing but water until the tummy rumbles have to be answered at noon; or a large sit-down gutbuster Full English with sourdough and extra bacon.
Whatever you have or don’t have for breakfast, it is a good idea to think about what you are eating, when you are eating it. By thinking about your food as you chew it, you will become less prone to over-eating and more prone to enjoying the breakfast experience.
Research shows that skipping breakfast could be bad for you.
It is easier to enjoy breakfast and think about it mindfully when you make a little effort to switch things up and try new flavours and textures. When you enjoy your breakfast you are less likely to skip it or make poor meal choices.
That said, you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking in the morning. Here are four ideas for unusually yummy, unexpectedly easy to make breakfasts:
1. Stuffed Apples: Eat these stuffed apples when you don’t have a lot of sit down time in the morning, yet want to feel good about breakfast.
Directions:
  1. Cut an apple in two equal pieces
  2. Cut the core and about a tablespoon’s worth of extra flesh out of each half
  3. Spoon in a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter into the holes
  4. Sprinkle a teaspoon of muesli or oats on top of the butter
  5. Get crunching!
2. Egg Porridge: Yes, you can! You can eat salty, eggy porridge and it tastes great! Not so common in Australia but there are billions of people all over the world who enjoy savoury porridges. This one is easy to make and a good introduction to the concept.
Directions:
  1. Cook a serving of unflavoured oats porridge in the microwave or on the stovetop, then put it in a serving bowl to cool. When done and still cooling, add a pinch of salt and stir.
  2. Whilst the oats are cooking, fry, bake or poach a runny egg.
  3. When the egg is done, place it on top of the cooling oats porridge. Add grated cheese and some sliced spring onion to the bowl.
  4. Serve for a tasty surprise!
3. Banana Nut Smoothie: If you like smoothies you will love this easy banana nut meal drink. It is a good way to use up the older bananas in your fruit bowl.
Directions:
  1. Put three peeled bananas in the freezer overnight
  2. In the morning, place the three bananas in a blender with three tablespoons of peanut butter, one and a half cups of milk, half a cup of Greek yoghurt, one teaspoon of honey, a pinch of salt and one tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  3. Blend until smoothied up
  4. Serve in a large tumbler with extra chopped nuts on the top for dramatic effect.
4. Nuked Eggs with Greens: The problem with eggs is the clean-up. Frying pans, baking dishes and boiling pots are a nuisance to wash. Avoid the problem by microwaving your eggs. Do not put a whole raw egg (in shell) into the microwave. Do this instead:
Directions:
  1. Crack two eggs into a microwave-safe container
  2. Add a pinch of salt and a handful of vegetables into the container. Any vegetables will do but we recommend spinach and sliced cherry tomatoes
  3. Microwave on high for 30 seconds
  4. Remove container, stir, then return to the microwave for another 30 second blast
  5. Remove from microwave, carefully plate up (the eggs will be very hot) and serve
If you think about it, breakfast is the only meal that you have to have even if you eat it at sundown. You might as well make it an enjoyable, healthy experience.