Sunday 29 July 2012

Going nuts at breakfast for Blue Diamond Almond Breeze

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze

On Twitter I seem to have no problem expressing the first thought that comes into my head - no matter how pointless. But for some reason I clam up when it comes to this blog. This mental block has been causing massive problems for my productivity levels (as evidenced by the delay to my #project366 updates), so I'm going to do my best to channel the casual social media vibe from now on.

When Foodies 100 recently sent out a request for bloggers to conjure up their best breakfast recipes using Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, I immediately knew I wanted in.

I can't quite remember when my obsession with almond flavouring started, but I have a sneaking suspicion it might have involved my good friend Jamie's 21st birthday and one too many Amaretto and Cokes...! Ever since then I've sought out new ways to experience that marzipan-like sweetness, whether it's in crunchy amaretti cookies, fluffy friands and frangipanes, or my own decadent twist on tiramisu.

Not only does almond milk satisfy one of my favourite flavour cravings, it also ticks my healthy eating box. Each 100ml serving contains only 14 calories, compared to 35 in the same quantity of skimmed milk - and when you're keeping a daily tally like I am, then that's a significant difference! Admittedly there is more fat in the almond version (1.2g fat in every 100ml compared to 0.1g in 100ml skimmed milk), but its monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids help lower your cholesterol to preserve your heart and maintain cognitive function. Many people have complained to me in the past that skimmed milk is too watery, so almond milk's rich and creamy consistency is an added bonus.

My first Blue Diamond Almond Milk recipe is a balanced breakfast smoothie. A healthy blend of bananas, peanut butter and porridge oats, this is an ideal energy booster after an early workout in the gym...or a late night out on the town!

Raw ingredients for banana, almond milk and PB smoothie

Balanced breakfast smoothie (serves 1)

1 large banana (110g approx) sliced into chunks

250ml Blue Diamond Almond Breeze milk

1 tbsp (15g) porridge oats

1/2tbsp (8g) unsweetened peanut butter

1. Pour the almond milk into a blender, and add the sliced banana and a small scoop of peanut butter. You can also add a couple of icecubes at this stage to make your smoothie super-cool.

2. Pulse for a couple of minutes to combine the ingredients then add the porridge oats and blitz for a few more minutes until you have a smooth mixture.

3. Serve in a tall glass and enjoy the buzz of energy that follows!

Note: all measurements here are rough guidelines only - feel free to increase the quantity of oats or peanut butter if you prefer your smoothies tasting thicker or nuttier! Just bear in mind that the amount of calories will also rise accordingly as you increase the quantities of the various ingredients.

#192 - balance banana smoothie with almond milk

Before I share my second breakfast recipe with you, I've a confession to make. Obviously it was necessary for me to taste the Blue Diamond Almond Breeze on its own in order to understand how its flavour and texture would impact on my dishes. I hadn't expected it to be quite so delicious though...I was hooked after my first sip on day #192! So much so that I rapidly consumed the whole 1 litre sample carton with my favourite Dorset Cereal spelt flakes and these  banana and PB smoothies before I even had time to bake a batch of these breakfast muffins...oops!

I've just spotted Blue Diamond Almond Milk in Waitrose, so I’m hoping to stock up soon and test this recipe properly (from The Student Cookbook). I'm confident that almond milk would work perfectly in these tasty breakfast treats, as it would just emphasise the background nutty flavour that is already hinted at by the crumbly ground almonds. These muffins are a great breakfast on the run - they appear light but are packed with such dietary goodness that you'll feel full until lunchtime!

Banana and almond breakfast muffins

Banana and almond breakfast muffins (serves 12 – 15, depending on size)

200g plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of ground nutmeg

125ml Blue Diamond Almond Breeze milk

50g ground almonds

50g sugar

2 – 3 medium bananas

2 eggs

2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

3 tbsp honey

1. Heat the oven to 190oC. Mix together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl, then stir in the sugar, ground almonds and pinch of nutmeg.

2. Mash the bananas using the back of a fork, then mix in the eggs, oil, almond milk and honey to make a thick sloppy paste.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, then mix well until everything is combined into a shiny batter.

4. Spoon the cake mixture into paper cases or greased cups in a muffin tray and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until golden and well well risen. Leave to cool or tear apart whilst still warm if you’re feeling impatient!

Note: The original recipe says this mixture produces 10 muffins, but I actually managed to bake 15 small cakes so depending on the size of your muffin cases I think you could make at least 12.

Biting into a banana and almond breakfast muffin

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