My vegan Chistmas Eve meal

As per usual I have flown home for Christmas. This festive season as a whole lot meaning for my family and I. My sister, who is at the moment really into veganism, cooked so many different vegan recipes for the family. Her main purpose was showing mum and dad that plant based food does not have to be dull or tasteless.  on highlighting the benefits that a diet without (or with low) meat consuption has for human health and for the Planet. Subsequently, it seems like my parents have actually managed to reduce their meat intake over the past year! 🙂 *win*

My sister motivated me start cooking more new vegan recipes. I have this (seemingly endless) list of all sorts of plant based recipes sitting in my phone and laptop. Since I have been acccumulating them for the past year or so, one of my goals for the new year is to start giving them a try. Now I can see that I am totally missing out by cooking the same things over and over again (regardless of how much I might enjoy them).

Anyway, in this post I would like to share with you the vegan dishes that sis and I cooked (with the help of the entire family) for our Christmas Eve meal. Everyone seemed to love them, which made us oh-so-happy.

The most important thing whenever I go back home is to be reunited with the ones I love. At Christmas time, as our Portuguese tradition dictates, we do it at at the table. Eating together has been always a thing we do as a family but there is something extra special about it when Christmas rolls around. We all gather together around the table sharing delicious food and great stories, cracking jokes and laughing a lot. 💛 This year was no different. Despite some of the usual traditional dishes (not exactly plant-based), our Christmas Eve menu included various vegan dishes. My sis and I felt so grateful for having a family who is so curious and willing to eat plant-based dishes that they have never heard of; especially at such a festive time like Christmas, where eating traditional Portuguese food is a way of celebration in itself.

As a starter, I have made this oven baked fillo dough stuffed with hummus and cherry tomatoes and topped with toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley (recipe from this the compassionatecuisineblog). It was the first time I made this recipe but because I liked it so much, I already did it other two times! #sorrynotsorry

As a main, my sis and I made this vegan portobello mushroom Wellington. It was just to die for guys. Its texture, taste, oh my.. I am drooling just with the thought of it. One thing is for sure, I will certainly be making it more times due to its huge success! This recipe is from boshtv. I am incredibly glad that my sis showed me this awesome youtube channel and website full of mouth watering vegan recipes. There is clearly so much passion involved in the work and cooking of the two guys behind Boshtv. They really show how easy and delicious plant based eating can be and inspire me to adventure myself more in the kitchen. We paired the Wellington with orange and thyme roasted heritage carrots with beetroot and toasted caramalised pecans.

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For dessert I have made bliss balls (made of cocoa, dates, peanuts and shredded coconut) and a raw lemon and coconut cheesecake. I have actually come up with this cheesecake recipe myself and since it actually turned out to be very tasty, I will most likely share it in a separate blog post.

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Now tell me about you! Do you also share a Christmas Eve meal with your family? What is a typical dish of Christmas that you usually have? What is your favourite food(s) to have during this festive season? Let me know in the comment section below! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Pumpkin and vegetable soup (VGN & GF)

It is finally pumpkin season and to celebrate it, I just came from the supermarket with various types of pumpkin (some of which are actually completely new to me). You should have seen me carrying them through the steep and narrow stairs (typically Dutch) of my house! haha but hey, they looked so cute and oh so pretty that I could not help myself! #sorrynotsorry Also, I swear they screamed “Please take me home with you!” and so I did (even though I have no idea of what I am gonna do with them because it feels like it is a waste to just cook them! haha).

Anyhoo, I am here today to share my pumpkin soup recipe, it is the perfect comfort food for brisk and cold Autumn nights. It is a bit different from the “typical pumpkin soup” because I added two of my fave veggies (cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach) to make it extra nutritious and comforting.

Whenever Fall and Winter come around, soup makes up my perfect staple diet for the week. I love to cook a pot of it in the weekend and store it in the fridge for when I come back home from work and gym feeling knackered during the week.

This soup recipe is just gently spiced with ginger powder and turmeric because I wanted to make sure that the pumpkin flavour shines above the rest. However, please do feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking. My favourite thing about using pumpkin in my soups is the perfect silky and creamy texture it gives to it.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 200g carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, peeled and cubed
  • 150g cauliflower, grated
  • 100g brown mushrooms (or any type really), finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 2tsp of ginger powder
  • 2tsp of turmeric
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  2. In the meantime, peel and dice the pumpkin, carrots and zucchini and put them aside.
  3. Then grate the cauliflower and put it aside.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the diced carrots, zucchini and pumpkin. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then, add the spices and salt and simmer for around 20 mins until pumpkin is soft.
  5. Turn off heat, and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.
  6. Add the grated cauliflower to the soup and simmer it again until it becomes soft.
  7. Then add the mushrooms and spinach leaves and let it all cook for more 3-5 minutes.

….And this is what you end up with:

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A thick and creamy soup loaded with flavour! If you decide to make this soup recipe (which I hope you do!!), let me know in the comment section how you liked it! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Baked pumpkin cinnamon oatmeal (VGN & GF)

My favourite time of the year – FALL – has arrived and this season calls for baking soul-warming comfort food recipes! Hence why I am here today! If you guys did not know already, I am a huge lover of pumpkin. I eat it all year around but… as soon as Fall arrives, I feel this huge urge to come up with new recipes where I can use it! I have been eating pumpkin nearly every single day and I don’t seem to get enough of it haha what can I say..? It is too big of a love!! I will certainly be sharing some fall-inspired recipes with pumpkin. So, my friends, please get ready for tons and tons of pumpkin everything!

Oatmeal is one of my favourite go-to breakfasts. I find it to be so satisfying and comforting, regardless of how hot or cold might be outside. Plus, you can really get creative with it according to what you’re craving: spices, seeds, nuts, dried or fresh fruits, nut butters…whatever floats your boat! Nevertheless, if I am at home and have the Sunday afternoon all to myself, I usually like to try out a new recipe. For this reason, last Sunday I decided to twist up the oatmeal game and do this fall-inspired baked pumpkin cinnamon oatmeal instead! It filled my house with the cosiest aroma and, as the result turned out quite good, I am here to share the recipe with you! It is easy to prepare and down right delicious. Plus, it is an easy make-ahead breakfast that is down right delicious and that you can enjoy all week.

 

Ingredients:

  • 70gr gluten free oats
  • 180 pumpkin puree
  • 180ml almond milk (I used the unsweetened roasted almond milk from Alpo but if you want to make it sweeter, you can use the regular version instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • A handful of cacao nibs
  • A handful of any kind of nuts: pecan, walnuts, pumpkin, almonds… (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl
  2. Once the ingredients are well incorporated, pour the mixture into a baking dish
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until the oats become tender and the liquid tick.
  4. Cut it into slices or squares and serve warm or store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Leftovers are just as good as reheated! 🙂

 

For a perfect final touch, you can drizzle your slice with maple syrup or even a plant-based milk (I reckon that adding a splash of almond or coconut milk would make it even tastier!), add a spoonful of coconut yogurt and/or fruit on top if you like.

 

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This breakfast recipe is just perfect for rushed mornings because all you need to do it to pull out a serving, pop it in the oven or microwave, then add any toppings you like to finish it off! It is filling, heart-healthy and wholesome. Please do let me know in the comments if you make it or if you have a similar recipe of baked oatmeal! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Tofu Scramble

Nothing beats a slow and steady weekend brunch at home with your beloved one(s)!♥ It was so wonderful to slowly wake up to a bright and sunny day this morning and since my boyfriend was at home, I decided to treat him (well, treat us..) to an entirely homemade brunch. Since my boyfriend is British, I promised that I’d include a sort of vegan English breakfast in our brunch. Gladly, he was not disappointed with the result. *phew*

So, today I am here to share my absolute favourite brunch staple: TOFU SCRAMBLE!! It is not only super easy and quick to prepare but it is also very nutritious due to its high protein content and 0% cholesterol.

The recipe below includes the basics I usually use often but you are free to play around with the spices and use any veggies you have left in the fridge.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 200g firm tofu
  • 1 small thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 red, yellow or orange pepper diced (I actually used a mix of the three)
  • A big handful of spinach leaves
  • 50 gr mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1/4 finely sliced leek
  • Fresh parsley to garnish

 

  • Seasonings:
    • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons of nutrional yeast
    • Cracked black pepper to taste
    • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Start by pressing the tofu, which increases its capacity to absorbe any flavourings and seasonings added to it. You can leave it draining with something heavy on top for about 10-15 minutes
  • While the tofu is draining, you can prepare and chop all the veggies.
  • Warm a skillet over medium heat with some water on it. Once hot, you may add the already thinly sliced onion and pepper(s) and saute until fragrant (about 3 to 5 minutes). Stir ocasionally.
  • Once the tofu is well pressed, you can crumble it slightly using a fork (or simply your hands) to get the preffered consistency for your scrambled tofu.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms, leek and crumbled tofu to the skillet as well as the nutritional yeast and the rest of the seasonings (make sure that the tofu is well coated). You will have most likely to add some more water to thin. Stir until well combined and let it cook it for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, until the tofu starts to get brown.
  • Serve immediately with some fresh parsley on top.

We served our tofu scramble over some gluten free multiseed toasted bread and paired it with vegan sausages. I do not consume processed meat-alternatives like this on a regular basis but it is good fun to switch things up every once in a while. Plus, I could not call it a vegan English breakfast without the sausages, could I?

If you try this recipe, please let me know in the comments how you like it! 🙂

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Small remark: I always buy organic tofu and would advise everyone to do it since, from what I have read, non-organic tofu is most likely genetically-modified and sprayed with toxic chemicals, which is just stuff our bodies do not need.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Source, York (England)

I traveled to the north of England earlier this year and I finally had the chance of visiting the lovely city of York. Going to cozy and pretty cafes and trying new and good foods are always part of my travel itinerary whenever I go on holidays. In my opinion, one of the greatest joys of wandering is discovering that little gem of a restaurant or cafe along the way. ♥

After a well-spent morning exploring York’s ancient walls and alleys, we decided to stop by at the restaurant “Source” for lunch. This time was actually my boyfriend who looked up this restaurant online and I was super glad with his suggestion! 🙂 The cloudy weather got me craving some real comfort food and I must say that the dishes I ordered totally hit the spot!

The restaurant is conveniently located in the heart of the city and all the ingredients used are locally sourced. Even though Source is specialized in slow meats, superfoods and vegetarian dishes, they also have a menu that is entirely vegan. 🙂 Despite its simple decor and relativelly small space, the restaurant has a clean and inviting atmosphere with an open kitchen (a concept that I love) and comfortable seating. The staff was accomodating and friendly.

You can see below the dishes I ordered:

Starters to share (£6.00):

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Caulliflower florets roasted with turmeric, chilli and ginger and garnished with fresh rocket leaves and pomegranate seeds. They came served with a yoghurt dip. As I do not consume dairy products I did not try the dip but boyfriend did and approved! 🙂 *small remark* can we please take all a moment to appreciate how pretty the what looks like to be handmade ceramic dinnerware is? Love it!!

As for the main, I decided to order this mouth-watering and hearty ratoutille (£12.00):

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The ratatoutille consisted of oven baked aubergine, green and yellow zucchinis with a super yummy red pepper and tomato sauce. It came served with some traditional bread, which I kindly asked to be toasted since it was supposed to be “warm” according to the menu. It was absolutely scrumptious and its aroma would leave you drooling trust me. By the way, who would have guessed that my first Ratoutille would be in England, rather than in France? haha

Given the quality and portion sizes of the dishes above, I found them to be fairly priced. I must also add that we did have to wait quite some time for our dishes but as soon as they arrived, we could understand why. It was visible how carefully they were prepared. Plus, it was totally worth the wait because the food was just excellent and wonderfully presented. So, if you guys happen to be in York and want to eat some good food, I’d totaly recommend this restaurant. 🙂

 

P.S. I apologise for not sharing any pictures of the restaurant itself or of the dish my boyfriend ordered but I guess I was too absorbed in the moment and in my food that I totally forgot.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

SNCKBR, Utrecht (Holland)

Heya x I hope you are all doing great on this fine Wednesday!

I have recently got the chance to go to the largest vegan restaurant in Europe (that just so happened to open in Utrecht) and I would like to share my review with you.

As you can imagine, I got extremely excited with the news that SNCKBR, the largest fully plant-based restaurant in Europe, was going to open in the Dutch city where I live in! As my curiosity spiked as soon as I read these news, I decided to read more into it. So, apparently the workwear of the personnel is fair trade, the restaurant’s interior is completely leatherless, all the ingredients used are sustainable (i.e. biologically grown whenever possible) and all dishes are free from refined sugar and E-numbers. Pretty awesome, right?

As my boyfriend was coming to visit within just a couple of weeks, I decided to wait for him to try this new vegan place in town. After all, great food tastes even better when shared with great people, right? ♥ Even though my boyfriend is a meat eater, when I told him about how cool the whole concept of this restaurant sounded, he said that he was totally in for it (possibly due to seeing my over the top excitement but oh well …haha)!

We went to SNCBR on Saturday for a sort of brunch. As soon as we got in, the first thing that struck my attention was the decor. I am of the opinion that a great interior can do to a cafe or restaurant as much as great food/drinks can. Despite its quite discrete exterior, the interior is well-designed and the seating is super lush! I loved the trendy vibe created by the decor neon lighting. I must also add that you would never say that the restaurant is so big that it has actually space for 110 people just from looking from outside. What a hidden gem!

Food

First of all, I found the menu to be quite creative and unique, offering a diverse selection of plant-based starters, mains, sides and desserts. Contrary to what the restaurant’s name may suggest, this is definitely not a typical snackbar. The menu offers some healthy comfort food options, such as steamed bar buns filled with eggplant, zucchini and other vegetables or cauliflower/pumpkin and sage pizzas! It took us quite some time to choose what to order because there were several dishes that we were eager to try! After careful consideration and much thought, we finally made up our minds and ordered our food.

Here it is:

imageImage-2.png-6Image.png-5The way the food was presented ,clean, appetising and just beautiful, left mesmerised.

 

My boyfriend ordered a no-chicken wrap, which consisted of a tortilla filled with crunchy vegan soya-based “chicken”, guacamole, tomato, iceberg lettuce leaves and tomato salsa & a side of fries with truffle mayonnaise. He said that his wrap was average at best. It was good but not incredibly good if you know what I mean. He was especially disappointed with the tomato salsa, which was not very rich or spicy as it should. However, he really loved the crispy (not soggy) fries with the truffle mayo.

I ordered some pecking “luck” (not duck!) pancakes that came with marinated soya chunks, sliced spring onions, cucumber, pretty edible flowers and plum sauce.  The pancakes were perfectly made: thin and not greasy (just how I like them to be). When it comes to the soya protein chunks, I must say that, sadly, I was not that impressed. Even though they had a lot of seasoning, I found them to be quite dry. Despite not being big on sauces, the plum sauce was so good that made it all taste much better. I also ordered some grilled veggies as a side and, contrary to the soya protein chunks, their taste did not fail to fulfil my expectations.

We also shared some yummy gyozas filled with shitake mushrooms, miso seasoned tofu, Chinese cabbage and Vietnamese sauce. They were my favourite! So scrumptious, rich in flavour and, from far, one of the best that I have ever eaten! I love gyozas sooo much that I could seriously make an entire meal out of them! #sorrynotsorry

It is also worth mentioning that, for those of you who are allergic, intolerant or simply avoid gluten, eating here would not be a problem at all since the menu has various options free from it. One great convenience regarding the menu is that it not only indicates the dishes containing gluten, but it also clearly points out which dishes contain nuts, peanuts and soja.

Service/Staff

The overall service provided by the staff could have been better to be honest. It was rather slow (even though they were not that busy). This is something I normally don’t mind much because it may be just a sign that the chef is putting all his love, care and attention in the dishes he/she is cooking. However, when we realised that the waitress forgot to bring the fries that we ordered and pointed it out, she was not even apologetic… Of course that the sort of negligent service we experienced might have just been an exceptional case, rather than the norm.

Location

The restaurant location is absolutely great! It is right in the city centre, super close to the Utrecht Central Station.

Price

Even though our portions’ size were reasonably good, I found the overall prices to be a little bit over the top. Just to give you an idea, the price of the wrap was 12,95€, which I find quite pricey given what it is.

 

That being said, I don’t want my mixed opinions on the food and service to be deceiving or put you off. I think that it is great to have a fully-plant based restaurant in town; particularly one offering a good variety of healthy (and ok less healthier) food options that are also original and different than the “typical” vegan dishes you would normally expect to find at a vegan restaurant/cafe (e.g avocado/hummus toasts, curries or buddha bowls). I am definitely going to go back to SNCBR so I can try other dishes! 🙂 I feel like only then will I be able to fully make my mind about this restaurant.  have recently changed their thing worth mentioning is the fact that they change the menu regularly. Hence I am sure that I will be extremely eager and excited to try a new bunch of dishes when I next go there!

Just to wrap it up, I think that due to being opened for just a few months, SNCKBR has still some untapped potential, which, in my opinion, is bound to change as time goes by. Thus, if you happen to be around, whether you are vegan or not, do go to this restaurant and try some of their food. I doubt you will regret it. Plus, I am all for supporting any projects and businesses with true soul behind and that strive to make real positive impact on the community.

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*Two things worth noting:

  • This restaurant has also two other branches in Holland. One is located in Amsterdam and the other one in Eindhoven. However, the one in Utrecht is the only one that is 100% vegan.
  • The kitchen closes at 9pm

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

Enjoy life more.♥

Sometimes you just feel like getting in a train, go explore a new city, sit down in a lovely cafe and treat yourself with a slice of vegan cheesecake and a fresh ginger tea.

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This is what I did last Sunday and I loved every single second of it. On my way train journey back home, I also called one of my best friends and we had an amazing catch up over the phone. It made me feel both so happy and grateful. This is something that I basically never do, which is so silly. If it is something that adds more meaning to my life , why not doing it more often?

The more I grow older, the more I realise that happiness is really in the little moments. If we do not enjoy each and every little day to day moment that makes our lives unique and worthwhile, we could be missing out on a lot of beautiful memories. After all, we were not born to just work, pay the bills and simply pass through life. We must learn how to live in the present. We must break the routine from time to time and try new things. We must prioritise what we enjoy doing. This is part of taking care of ourselves. This is part of – wholeheartedly – loving ourselves as we deserve.

I have no doubts that we are all capable of accomplishing great things in life as long we are happy, motivated and healthy. So let’s focus on self-care practices that are beneficial for our body, mind and soul and that ultimately allow us to achieve our goals in life.

At the end of the day, you are all you got and I now understand how crucial it is for me to do things that make me stress less and enjoy life more. ♥

 

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Breakfast Cereals: Current Addictions

Heya there,

Today I am here to share with you my favourite three breakfast cereals at the moment. I am a self-proclaimed breakfast lover and most of the times I opt for breakfasts that are grain-based as I find them more filling and energising!

A bowl of breakfast cereals is always a great, easy and convenient choice for busy mornings. Contrary to what many say, they can be seen as a complete and healthy breakfast or snack option due to their essential minerals and vitamins.

From my standpoint, if we want a nutritious breakfast that includes cereals we just need to know how to pick them wisely. There is a pretty wide spectrum of choices and I always try to go for the ones that are the least processed and that contain little quantities or whenever possible no oil or sugar at all. I also give preference to the ones that are organic, fair trade and/or gluten free (the latter is due to my digestive issues).

Wholegrain Sorghum Cereal from Nutribrex (GF)

The first time I heard and got to try this breakfast cereal was at my sister’s place in the UK. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of trying it as I happened to to be visiting her shortly after she bought it at a vegan food fair in London.

For those of you who don’t know, Weetabix cereals are basically these rectangle-shaped wholegrain high in fiber biscuits. They are very low in sugar and fat and I like them best when soaked in plant-based milk (e.g. coconut milk) or yoghurt or even crushed and thrown in a yummy smoothie bowl.

As a Weetabix lover who tends to follow a diet that is mainly gluten free, finding out that there is an alternative to this breakfast cereal that is equally tasty (if not even more?) and without containing any gluten made me soooo happy! Plus, when it comes to the nutritional values of these two breakfast cereals, I find Nutribrex a slightly more interesting option. I am leaving their ingredients below so you can check it yourselves:

Weetabix ingredients:

  • Wholegrain Wheat (95%), Malted Barley Extract, Sugar, Salt and Vitamins (Niacin B3, Iron, Riboflavin B2, Thiamin B1, Folic Acid)

Nutribrex ingredients:

  • Wholegrain Sorghum (96%), Golden Syrup, Salt, Vitamins (Niacinb B3, Riboflavin B2, Thiamin B1, Folic Acid)

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You can easily find Nutribrex in any supermarket in the UK but, sadly, they are not sold overseas. However, you can order it from the company’s website.

Muesli from Rude Health

From my shopping experience, it is not an easy task to find muesli that is both oil and sugar free. Even when the muesli does not contain refined sugar, it usually contains syrup, such as rice, agave or corn syrup. I am not saying that just because they have syrups you should absolutely avoid them at all costs because they are not a good option for breakfast. Please do not get me wrong because that is not what I am saying at all. All I am saying is that, based on my personal preferences and taste, I would rather have a breakfast that contains nutrient-packed alternatives to refined sugar or syrups, such as dried fruit for instance.  That being said, the main reason that led me to buy this organic muesli was its combination of 23 ingredients that are all natural, non-GMO and delicious. As the brand says, including so many ingredients in their muesli recipe makes every spoonful taste different.  You can find all the ingredients listed below:

Ingredients: Oats, Rye Flakes, Raisins, Sultanas, Barley Flakes, Apricots, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Dates, Golden Linseeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Cranberries, Quinoa, Apple, Buckwheat Flakes, Goji Berries, Hazelnuts, Puffed Rice, Blueberries, Poppy Seeds, Linseeds, Cinnamon.

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So, as you can see this muesli has it all – good carbs, protein and good healthy fats -which makes it a wholesome grain-based breakfast option. Plus, I love its crunchiness and natural sweetness!

Even though this muesli is quite a light grain-based option because it does not contain any wheat, the only thing I’d change in it would be making it completely gluten free. This way, a greater number of people could actually indulge in its yumminess.

Ahh.. and if I could change its price, I’d too haha. I find it relatively pricey but still worth buying. As I love it so much, its price just forces me to be always on the lookout for deals! 🙂

Now, off to my third favourite breakfast:

Muesli puffed rice and milled from Lima (GF)

I love the combination of good carbs used in this muesli: puffed rice and milled and cornflakes! YUMS. The sweetness of this muesli also comes from natural ingredients like raisins, dates and dried apples. Plus, every single ingredient is organically grown.

Ingredients: Raisins, sunflower seeds, cornflakes, puffed rice, puffed millet, hazelnuts, dates, dried apples.

Thus, this muesli is just another grain-based breakfast rich in good nutrition due to the essential minerals, vitamins and dietary fibres it contains.

 

8cI5piLVeXXq8CORecEAWhat about you guys? What is your opinion about breakfast cereals?  Are you familiar with any of these three products? Would love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

 

Much Love

Blissfully Grateful