Can’t get any easier: Chia Pudding

Weight Update: I’m at 169lbs (down from 181lbs)! Finally below 170! Only 4 more pounds until I reach my first goal. This is the slowest, most agonizing process but I have to keep going. Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates.

Happy Sunday everyone! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I’m going to give you two recipes to get you through your week. It’s the same base, two different ways, and an endless number of possibilities.

I drink a meal replacement shake every morning and it doesn’t change much. 1 scoop protein powder (I use IdealShape!) almond milk, almond butter, chia, and banana (239 calories). Yum!!! But it gets kind of boring after 10 or 15 of these. So when I need to switch things up but still want to keep it low cal + healthy, I make chia pudding.

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View from the top of the breakfast hunger

If I forget to make it the night before, I toss all of the ingredients into my Nutribullet and voila! Easy breakfast.

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Blended Chia Pudding – great breakfast for the office!

Blended Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • high speed blender
  • spatula
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup
  • small container with a lid

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk and maple syrup in the blender. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste.
  2. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes, until thick and smooth. It will be slightly gelatinous to touch. Pour into the container and top with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 203 calories without toppings

Overnight Chia Pudding

What you’ll need

  • small container with a lid
  • tablespoon
  • 1/2 c. measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • cinnamon
  • toppings! fruit, nut butter, nuts, cacao, dried fruit, coconut, granola, whatever you like

Instructions

  1. Combine the chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon to taste. Give it a good stir.
  2. Let sit in the fridge for a least 4 hours. It should thicken up immensely and have a gelatinous, tapioca like consistency. If it’s too thick when you’re ready to eat it, add a little extra milk to loosen it up. Top it with your favorite things. Enjoy!

Est. 215 calories without toppings

Tip: Feel free to add 1/8 tsp of almond or vanilla extra or 1/4 tsp orange zest to brighten the flavor. You can also do milk blends. I personally like using almond milk and canned, cooking coconut milk. It makes it so creamy!

 

Oh my goodness, Granola!

It’s finally happened. It’s taken years to be convinced that I could do it and all it took was a wonderful suggestion from my best friend.

Let’s back up for a minute. I like granola. I usually like my granola with yogurt. I don’t like whole nuts or dried fruit in my yogurt. That limits a vast selection of granola out there on the shelves. On top of that, I’m particular about sweetness and spice levels. I prefer lots of cinnamon with a touch of sweet.

I think what I’m getting at is that granola preferences are individualistic and completely based on context.

So when my best friend shared her recipe with me (and some of her granola), I knew it was time I gave it a try. By the way, her spreadsheet has a log of various trials and notes for the next baking session. It’s methodical and beautiful. Today I’m sharing the base version of hers that yielded the best result thus far. I’ve made my own tweaks because I

granola

Goodness Granola

What you’ll need:

  • baking sheets lined with parchment paper (use glass baking dishes if you don’t have parchment, lightly greased)
  • 1 large mixing bowl, 1 medium mixing bowl
  • measuring cups + spoons
  • spatula

Ingredients

  • 3.5 cups extra thick cut oats
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped/smashed
  • 1/4-1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, torn into smaller pieces
  • 2-2.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (plus a little extra on hand)
  • 1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil (plus a little extra on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract or vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In the large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the medium mixing bowl, Combine the oil, maple syrup, honey and extract. Carefully whisk until mostly blended.
  4. Poor the wet over the dry, mix until completely coated. If some areas seem dry still, drizzle 1 tbsp maple syrup and a touch of oil. Mix.
  5. Spread the granola in an even later on the pans. Bake in oven for 9-10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 9-10 minutes until lightly browned. Keep an eye on the granola towards the end of the second half of baking.
  6. Once the granola is done, remove from oven and completely cool. Store in airtight container.

Notes: You can use molasses or agave for vegan variations. Add 1/2 cup pepitas, cashews, etc.

Copycat Almond Butter Bliss

Let’s pretend it’s summer. Well, if you were in the Northeast the past few days, it’s probably not all that difficult to imagine. We’ve had unseasonably warm weather and my feelings on it have been perfectly captured by Sarah Andersen.

Back to what I was saying before. It’s warm out. You’re sick of salads. What do you eat?

An açaí bowl!

Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is a berry that’s kinda like a cross between a blueberry and a grape. It’s high in antioxidants, low in sugar, and high in iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. It’s got a sweet, berry yet chocolate taste to it. You’ll often see them in smoothies and often referenced as a superfood. TLDR; they’re good for you.

They’re also incredibly finicky as a commodity. As soon as they are picked, they start to lose their flavor and their potency. They grow in tropical climates (think Brazil). So when we in the USA finally get our hands on these babies, they’ve been processed into a puree or turned into a freeze-dried powder. It’s the only way to preserve its tastiness and health benefits.

So why am I talking about açaí and what are they doing in bowls?

Juice Generation, a coveted health spot for the wellness minded, makes a fantastic açaí bowl. The problem is that the bowls cost $12 in NYC and I personally can’t justify buying that a couple of times each week. So, like every other thing I love but is too expensive, I found a way to make it at home. Mine is a bit less creamy as I attempted to keep it as low calorie as possible.

If you haven’t had a bowl from Juice Generation and you have access to one, you should *absolutely* give it a try. You won’t be sorry, even if it looks a bit like mud.

Copycat Almond Butter Bliss

What you’ll need

  • High speed blender
  • knife
  • cutting board
  • spatula
  • measuring spoons/cups

Ingredients

  • 2 packets açaí puree, frozen (run under water for a few minutes to loosen it up a bit)
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 3/4-1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup Nature’s Path Hemp+ Granola
  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Steps

  1. Place the contents of both açaí into the blender. Add 1/2 of the banana, 2 tbsp almond butter, ice cubes and 3/4 cup almond milk. Blend until smooth. It should be thicker than a smoothie. Add the remaining almond milk to make it blend better if needed. Keep adding more milk if it needs it.
  2. Once the mixture is thick but smooth, pour into a bowl. Evenly top with the granola. Spoon the remaining almond butter in the center of the bowl and top with banana and strawberry slices. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.
  3. Enjoy!

Tip: If you want to eat this for lunch, make your base in advanced and place in the freezer. Let it thaw for about an hour before lunch. You can prep the strawberries + bananas before hand as well. You can also halve the recipe for a smaller portion. Add some protein powder to make it a touch more filling.

Approx: 610-670 calories

Cinnamon Synonymous with Savvy

I noticed a few weeks back that I had a bunch of pantry items that I haven’t used in a while like the 1lb bag of confectioner’s sugar I bought to make royal icing for Star Wars gingerbread cookies (cookies were made, frosting was not). So I made it my goal to use everything I could before I move out of my apartment in May.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have chocolate chips around to make cookies so I settled on what I had the most of: cinnamon. It was also my birthday recently so cake was on my mind. Put those two together and you have a cinnamon cake. Boom. A savvy way to use up ingredients just hangin’ around.

Oh, so if you didn’t know, there are many conversations happening around the “realness” of mass produced cinnamon. I enjoy observing these conversations the way one shamelessly delights in watching reality television. Pass the cake please! We’ll be here for a while.

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I didn’t swirl the cinnamon/sugar filling and it basically made two disjointed layers of cake. Still delicious though!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

  • 2 medium to large mixing bowls, hand mixer, bundt pan

For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened (1.5 sticks, must be softened not melted)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp milk

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour the bundt pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the butter until crumbly. Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. In the other mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon using a fork to mix. Set aside.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar/cinnamon filling evenly around the pan. I recommend taking a thin utensil like a chopstick to gently swirl. Pour the remaining half of the batter on top so that the filling is covered.
  5. Bake for 55-60 minutes until browned and cook through. While the cake is baking, whisk the confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon and 1 tbsp of milk in the bowl the filling was in. Add 1 more tbsp of milk for a smoother consistency. Add a little more milk if needed. Set aside.
  6. When the cake is done, allow to cool in  the pan for 20 minutes. Flip onto a plate to cool completely. Remove cake from pan. Drizzle the icing over the bundt cake. Enjoy!

 

Mindfulness & Blueberry Crisp

I woke up this morning with the urge to make blueberry crisp. I thought I was going to make a pie but my patience and lack of a rolling pin made me decide otherwise. So a crisp was made! Blueberries are by far my favorite fruit. I love how tart and sweet they are, as well as self contained.

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A baker’s space.

There’s a sense of peace I find while I’m baking. I find comfort in my recipes; they act as lil’ guides for this delicious journey. It’s the only time that I  am completely mindful of my actions, my senses and my intent. Measure one cup of flour, feel the dough, look for the texture, smell the blueberries releasing their juices. Baking is a whole body experience and the connection I feel with my food is never more prominent than when I have my hands covered in dough.

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Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

This crisp is definitely more on the tart side with so little sugar added in. It has just a hint of bourbon for flavor that you can just barely detect. Add another tbsp for a real bourbon zing. You can top it off with fresh whipped cream or ice cream, or do as we did in the garden and just ate it as it was. My taste testers were very happy for free treats!

Blueberry Crisp

  • 1 heaping cup of flour
  • 1 cup butter, 1/2″ cubes
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping pint of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 almonds, chopped
  1. In a large bowl, mix the butter cubes into the flour, a few cubes at a time. Use a fork or a pastry blender to crumble it. The texture should resemble pebbles. Put in the fridge for 10 minutes if the butter starts to get too soft to crumble.
  2. Add the sugar and almonds, mixing in the same fashion. Cover and let sit in the fridge for a half hour, an hour if you can.
  3. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400.
  4. In a 9-inch dish, gently mix the blueberries with the bourbon and cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. When the flour/butter mixture has chilled, pour an even layer over the blueberries. Resist the urge to press it down- the crumble needs air and space.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, until the juices start bubbling and the crumble turns golden brown. Enjoy!

Broiled Peaches

When you don’t have a grill readily available, just turn on the broiler! Simple, eh? I got a bag of peaches last weekend with the intention of making peach pie. However, between the heat and falling short about 2 cups of peaches, I decided to do something much simpler. This is one of my favorite summer treats- relatively guilt free and amazingly sweet.

Broiled peaches with a touch of cinnamon
Broiled peaches with a touch of cinnamon

Broiled Peaches

  1. Preheat the broiler and move the oven rack 6 inches away from the heat source.
  2. Halve the peaches, remove the pits and sprinkle with a light layer of brown sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Place the peaches face down on a foil lined broiler pan or a baking sheet. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until tender and caramelized.
  4. Serve warm with your favorite ice cream, fresh whipped cream, goat cheese or fresh ricotta!

Tip: If you want to leave the skin on, brush it with a bit of melted butter so that it doesn’t char.

Berry Yogurt Muffins

I hate to admit it but I have too much fruit in my apartment. Normally this isn’t a problem but the amount of produce that I am harboring is almost overwhelming. So naturally during the week that I am reducing the amount of bread-products that I am consuming, I decided the best course of action is to make muffins!

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First sign of summer

These muffins aren’t your ordinary muffins. They have a slight tang from the yogurt, are relatively low in sugar and really rely on the berries for the flavor. I recommend making these as a semi-guilt-free snack or as a treat for a picnic or tea party. Add some flax or chia seeds for extra fiber and omega-3!

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My friends & colleagues will definitely benefit from this batch
  • 3 cups minus 2 tbsp unbleached white flour (I used 1/2 white & 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping cup plain yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare your muffin tins with liners or lightly grease with butter.
  2. Pour flour into a medium bowl. Create a small well in the middle and add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, egg, butter, vanilla extract and yogurt. Mix well.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.
  5. Carefully fold the berries in.
  6. With a large spoon or a melon ball, scoop the batter into the muffin tins until about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through completely. Allow the muffins to cool slightly before you dig in!

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman