Quinoa and Steel Cut Porridge with Sautéed Apples

It’s Heart Month!

As a dietitian, I love this month. I actually think I’ve gone a little heart health crazy at work – I’m teaching classes on heart healthy cooking, doing heart healthy recipe demos, and I’ve made a fun display for customers to learn about heart healthy food swaps (like swapping out croutons for toasted nuts in salads – yum!). .

This quinoa and steel cut porridge is soaked overnight and topped with sauteed apples in the morning - a fast & healthy breakfast ready in just 10 minutes!

So to celebrate heart month on the blog, today I’m bringing you a recipe for quinoa and steel cut porridge: a heart healthy breakfast to start your day with! Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients:

  • Steel cut oats: A great source of soluble fibre that helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • Apples: Contain flavonoids that are associated with reduced risk of heart disease
  • Almonds: High in monounsaturated fat, known to lower LDL cholesterol

Not too bad for a humble bowl of oatmeal, right?

Another great thing about this quinoa and steel cut porridge is that it is fast to whip up in the mornings – this is thanks to the fact that you actually start the cooking process the night before, then let it soak overnight. I got this idea from Bon Appetit and love how it makes steel cut oatmeal prep fast enough for even weekday breakfasts! While it’s warming up, you sauté the apples (or could sub in pears). I use a sweeter variety like Golden Delicious, but if you find you want a bit more sweetness you could add in a drizzle of maple syrup. Top with toasted nuts or seeds, dried fruit, and even a nice scoop of almond butter for a heart(y) healthy breakfast!

This quinoa and steel cut porridge is soaked overnight and topped with sauteed apples in the morning - a fast & healthy breakfast ready in just 10 minutes!

Quinoa and Steel Cut Porridge with Sautéed Apples
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This quinoa and steel cut porridge is soaked overnight and topped with sauteed apples in the morning - a fast & healthy breakfast ready in just 10 minutes!
Yield: 2 servings
  • ¼ cup steel cut oats, dry
  • ¼ cup quinoa, dry
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1 apple, sliced (I like using a sweeter apple, like Golden Delicious)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon, or more to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • Other toppings (optional): nuts/seeds, shredded coconut, nut butter, maple syrup, dried fruit
  1. The night before, combine the steel cut oats, quinoa, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover, then let sit overnight.
  2. In the morning, heat the pot over medium heat and add milk as needed until warmed through while stirring frequently.
  3. While the cereal is being warmed, heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the sliced apple and cinnamon. Stir frequently for a few minutes, then add the lemon juice and water. Continue to cook until the apples are tender.
  4. Serve the sautéed apples over the oatmeal then add maple syrup to sweeten if necessary any additional toppings.

This quinoa and steel cut porridge is soaked overnight and topped with sauteed apples in the morning - a fast & healthy breakfast ready in just 10 minutes!

What’s your favourite heart healthy food? 


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Mediterranean Halloumi and Egg Toast

Today I’m sharing a recipe that’s been stewing in my thoughts since two summers ago! It goes all the way back to my trip to England, where amongst my fond memories of high teas, Michelin Star dinners, and the quaint town of Marlow, are memories of the beginning of my love affair with halloumi cheese.

I remember seeing halloumi cheese on menus everywhere in England (and I happily ordered most of them); yet here in Canada it’s a rarity. A lot of people here don’t even know what halloumi cheese is! Which is a darn shame because, pardon my French, that shit is delicious.

Mediterranean halloumi and egg toast piled with arugula, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and pesto - a delicious and healthy vegetarian brunch!

For those of you who have never heard of halloumi cheese, it’s a dense, salty Greek cheese that is best served warm – it actually doesn’t melt, so it keeps its shape when heated too. I like pan frying it to give it a crispy exterior that makes it so delicious you will just want to eat it straight from the pan. If you can hold off a few minutes, it’s also wonderful in salads, sandwiches, and kebabs.

This Mediterranean halloumi and egg toast recipe is actually my adaptation from a meal I had at Fego Caffe while staying in Marlow. It combines all of the best Mediterranean flavours of pesto, tomatoes, avocado, and halloumi, topped off with a runny fried egg. It’s served open faced and eaten with a knife and fork, which is the best way to savour all its amazing flavours. Because if I learned one thing from England, other than my love of halloumi cheese that is, it’s that food – and life – are meant to be savoured!

Mediterranean halloumi and egg toast piled with arugula, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and pesto - a delicious and healthy vegetarian brunch!

Mediterranean Halloumi and Egg Toast
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Mediterranean veggies tossed in pesto on top of whole grain toast with avocado, pan fried halloumi cheese, and a fried egg
Yield: 2 servings
  • 1 tbsp pesto
  • 2.5tbsp olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4-5 medium cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 slices whole grain artisan bread
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • ½ avocado
  • 100g halloumi cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  1. In a small ramekin combine the pesto with 1.5 tbsp olive oil to thin it out.
  2. In another ramekin, mix the cherry tomatoes with about 1 tbsp of the pesto/olive oil mixture and set aside.
  3. Heat up ½ tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Let cook without disturbing them until they are browned on one side, then add salt and pepper and give them a stir. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until they are done. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, fry the sliced halloumi cheese until it is golden on both sides then remove to a plate.
  5. Heat up the last ½ tbsp olive oil in a pan and fry two eggs to your liking.
  6. Lay out two slices of toasted bread on each plate and spread each piece with the olive oil and pesto mixture. Top each plate with a handful of arugula, half of the tomatoes, half of the mushrooms, half of the avocado, half of the halloumi, and one fried egg. Season with pepper then serve warm.

Mediterranean halloumi and egg toast piled with arugula, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and pesto - a delicious and healthy vegetarian brunch!

What’s your favourite cheese? What was your best food discovery from travelling?


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7 Ways to Get More Protein at Breakfast

Read this post to learn ways to get more protein at breakfast!

If you’re reading this blog post, you probably eat breakfast. I don’t have any scientific data to back that up, but I’ve noticed that bloggers and blog readers alike tend to love breakfast (best meal of the day, am I right?)! So anyway, I’ll spare you my spiel about why breakfast is important.

Instead I’m going to get nitpicky and focus in on one nutrient that is often missing from many typical breakfasts – protein. We do a good job of getting enough at lunch, and often times too much at dinner (that 8 oz steak could feed two people!), but breakfast tends to be lacking.

So what’s the deal about protein – why should we be getting enough at breakfast? Protein is slower to digest, meaning it can help keep you satisfied for longer and keep your blood sugar more steady than a breakfast containing just simple carbs – this is one of the reasons why protein can help with maintaining a healthy weight. Research also suggests that spreading protein intake out evenly over the day is the best way to maintain and grow our muscles, which is beneficial for overall health (not just bodybuilders!).

With all that being said, here are a few of my favourite ways to get more protein at breakfast time:

1. Eggs

This is probably the obvious protein source at breakfast, but I think it warrants mentioning anyways. Eggs are great because they can fry up in just a few minutes, making them a fast choice. Are your mornings more rushed? Hard boil a half dozen on weekends so that you can grab 1-2 along with a yogurt and piece of fruit when you’re on-the-go. If you have the luxury of having more time on your hands in the mornings, whip up a skillet hash or even a strata that will make leftovers for your next few breakfasts.

Mexican sweet potato skillet hash with a fried egg and melted mozzarella cheese

2. Add some cottage cheese

When you saw this point you probably either nodded in agreement or scrunched up your nose in disgust – I know not everyone is a cottage cheese fan! But if you are, it’s a fantastic source of protein with 16 grams in just 1/2 cup. If your usual breakfast is toast, add some cottage cheese on the side topped with fresh fruit, or you can even try blending it into pancakes.

3. Make a better smoothie

Smoothies are a great convenient breakfast that whip up in just seconds. But if the only ingredient in them is fruit, you’re missing out on some important nutrients. Use milk or soy milk and add 1/2 cup Greek yogurt for some protein to make sure your smoothie keeps you full. And don’t forget some healthy fats from a tablespoon of nut butter or ground flax!

4. Boost your cereal

Breakfast cereal is usually low in protein – and if it boasts high protein content on the package, be wary and check the nutrition label – it’s probably high in sugar too! To make cereal a higher protein breakfast, pair your cereal with milk or soy milk rather than almond, coconut, hemp, or rice milk which are all lower protein options with only ~1 g protein per cup.

It’s the same story with hot cereal – it’s all about what you add to it! I pump up the protein in my oatmeal with these 5 tips, which make it a great post-workout breakfast after my strength training sessions at GoodLife Fitness.

Oatmeal with banana, blueberries, and almond butter

5. Sprinkle with seeds

Whether you like toast, cereal, or oatmeal in the mornings, a good sprinkle of seeds can help boost protein. Hemp hearts are especially potent, with 10 grams of protein in 3 tbsp!

6. Try beans at breakfast

Did you hear it’s the International Year of Pulses? So if you’re not already on the bean bandwagon, this year is a great time to start! Beans may not be thought of as a typical breakfast food, but  they make a great addition to a breakfast wrap with eggs, salsa, avocado and cheese. Or try experimenting with chickpea flour and make socca, a flatbread you can make in a pan in just a few minutes. Top it with savoury flavours like egg and avocado or sauteed mushrooms and cheese.

7. Make a healthy parfait

Not only do they look pretty and taste good, but they can be a fantastic source of protein! Use Greek yogurt, which gives you 17-19 grams per 3/4 cup serving, and layer it with fruit (use fresh or frozen, or try making a compote from dried fruit) and granola. Granola can be high in sugar, so keep your serving size to 1/4 cup – or make a homemade granola that’s lower in sugar!

Fig and Date Compote with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Almonds

Do you pay attention to protein at breakfast? How do you add protein to breakfast?

This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own.


Filed under nutrition